Jay R. Cavanaugh, PhD
American Alliance for Medical Cannabis
convicted medical cannabis gardener Ed Rosenthal in a San Francisco Federal
Court, five of the twelve person jury recanted their verdict and called for a
new trial. Jurors complained publicly of judicial intimidation and wrongly
sequestered evidence that would have resulted in an acquittal had the
government allowed the entire picture surrounding Ed Rosenthal’s compassionate
activities to be presented. Many jurors particularly resented having their
hands tied by Judge Breyer who instructed them to disregard their conscience
observers the battle in Federal Court was a replay of the recent trial of Bryan
Epis in a Sacramento Federal Court. Many feel that medical cannabis has been on
trial in these cases with the government bound to crush State Laws providing
for the compassionate care of the sick, dying and disabled.
medical cannabis was NOT on trial in either San Francisco or Sacramento. That’s the whole point. Federal
jurors were never allowed to consider the issues surrounding medical cannabis
including enabling State Law, medical necessity, or mitigating circumstances.
It was as if a man on trial for reckless driving was unable to tell the jury
that his pregnant wife was hemorrhaging to death in the car on the way to the
Court knew that an informed jury was likely to acquit persons acting in a
compassionate fashion under State Law. The Court also acted to protect Federal
Law against any hint of jury nullification by directing the jury to ignore
their conscience should they have gotten a clue of the true circumstances of
the cases. In Sacramento the government arrested people
publicly handing out information on juries and medical cannabis. In San Francisco the government sought a gag order
and Judge Breyer threatened the defendant during the course of the trial for
publicly speaking about the case.
ancient times, societies have grappled to provide a legal system that avoids
the twin evils of anarchy and totalitarianism. First the English in common law
and then the Americans in the Constitution insured truth and balance in the
courtroom by employing detailed procedural mechanisms and the final check of
authority by a jury of peers. It is this balance and justice itself that was on
trial recently in Sacramento and San Francisco. The Federal government won by
perverting, ignoring, or denying the very safeguards we hold essential for
truth and fairness.
nullification is no obscure relic of medieval law. It is nothing less than the
critical safeguard we have from tyranny. A fully informed jury is to be
trusted, respected, and obeyed. If such juries repeatedly refuse to convict
persons of unjust laws then their rejection of such laws forces law makers into
been made by the present government in Washington that the United States is a compassionate Christian
nation. Such pronouncements apparently ignore the fact that at the center of
Christian doctrine and experience is a savior that rejects the legalism of his
age. Christ specifically states that the only way that the laws “written in
stone” may be respected is if they are evaluated by the higher laws written in
the believer’s hearts. From 2,000 years ago we see that true religion calls for
the principles of love, compassion, and truth be an integral part of any legal
decision. In this sense the Federal Courts have expressly rejected the
spiritual underpinnings of the nation and replaced them with oppressive
legalisms that were common in ancient times.
feel that following the laws of the heart is a recipe for legal chaos. This is
not only patently untrue but utterly contemptuous of the citizenry. The Judge
in legal proceedings is balanced not only by procedural regulation and
precedent but also by twelve jurors. Does any rational person think that twelve
sociopathic citizens will find themselves on the same jury and reach the same
Rosenthal and Bryan Epis may soon be sentenced to long Federal prison terms as
the result of their “show” trials. Many jurors are only now learning about what
was actually going on with these defendants. These jurors are not only angry at
being deceived but even worse they are filled with remorse for convicting
innocent individuals. Having been denied in jury deliberation, the conscience
of these everyday people will now disturb them for the rest of their lives.
or potential jurors should be educated to not only question authority but to
empower themselves by realizing that the eternal laws of their hearts trump the
temporary laws of a misguided and cruel government.
Cavanaugh, PhD, the author, is National Director of the American Alliance for
Medical Cannabis (AAMC). AAMC is a group of patients, caregivers, family
members, and health professionals operating in California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Rhode Island with the mission of patient support
and community education about adjunctive therapy with medical cannabis.
Information about AAMC is available at: http://www.letfreedomgrow.com.
The author may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Cavanaugh lives in West Hills, California with his wife Nancy and two teens,
John Paul 16, and Erin