Marijuana guru released on bond pending trial

October 19, 2006

Bay City News Service, Mercury News (San Jose)

Medical marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal was granted release on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond today while he awaits a federal trial in San Francisco on drug cultivation and money laundering charges.

The bond was set by U.S. Magistrate Nandor Vadas in San Francisco and was halfway between requests by prosecution and defense lawyers. Prosecutors had asked for a $100,000 bond while Rosenthal's attorney asked that he be released on his own recognizance.

Rosenthal's next court date is a status conference on Oct. 25 before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, the judge who will preside over his retrial.

Rosenthal, 61, of Oakland, the author of 13 books about marijuana, was previously convicted in Breyer's court in 2003 of three marijuana-related felonies and sentenced to a day in prison.

But a federal appeals court overturned the conviction earlier this year because of juror misconduct, thus paving the way for a retrial.

In the retrial, Rosenthal will face additional money laundering and tax evasion counts that were added to previous marijuana cultivation charges in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Oct. 12.

He is accused of growing marijuana for a now-defunct dispensary in San Francisco.

Rosenthal has claimed outside of court that he sought to help patients who needed medical marijuana. But federal drug laws make no exception for a California law that allows seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana on a doctor's recommendation.


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