'Ganja guru' convicted in San Francisco retrial

May 29, 2007

, Reuters

After fighting for years to clear his name, a prominent marijuana advocate known as the "ganja guru" was convicted again on Wednesday on charges of cultivating and distributing the weed.

Ed Rosenthal, 62, author of "Why Marijuana Should Be Legal" and other books, was originally convicted on marijuana charges in 2003 by a federal jury and sentenced him to a day in jail.

The conviction was later overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered. When prosecutors renewed the case last year, they added tax evasion and money laundering charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer ruled in March that prosecutors had added those charges vindictively and dismissed them, but would not grant Rosenthal's request to dismiss the original charges.

The new jury found Rosenthal guilty on three charges of cultivating and distributing marijuana. He cannot receive any additional jail time under the verdict.

"If the jury had heard the whole truth, they would have acquitted me on all charges," Rosenthal said in a statement. "These laws are doomed. Science and compassion will win out over politics and superstition."

Rosenthal was the first prominent marijuana activist tried by federal prosecutors for growing and providing marijuana for medical purposes after California voters in 1996 approved such use. The California law is in opposition to federal law, which trumps state law.


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