I was one of the jurors on the United States v. Ed Rosenthal case

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Sureshot, Jun 17, 2003.

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    I was one of the jurors on the recent, controversial United States v. Ed Rosenthal trial. I am thankful for this experience in many ways.

    During the trial in federal court, the jury was barred from hearing evidence that Rosenthal was growing marijuana legally and medicinally, under state and local laws. But, after convicting the defendant for growing marijuana, the jury was allowed to question its own verdict. We were able to speak out that this was wrong. I am thankful that in my country, we have First Amendment rights.

    I am obliged to all of the patients, caregivers, strangers, friends and even business associates who shared their stories and their tears with me. They convinced me, down to the depths of my very soul, that medical marijuana does help in the suffering of the sick and dying.

    I am thankful for all of the activists and lobbying groups I have met. The medical marijuana groups, doctors' and patients' rights advocates, those representing the rights of the accused and the jurors' rights groups, ( goodness, I never knew there were so many groups out there ) have truly opened my eyes. There is a huge world outside of my quiet, small-town life, with many profound and complicated issues. I am indebted to these advocates for helping to turn me from one of the most politically apathetic and socially unaware citizens into one with conscience and conviction.

    I am in awe of the defense team. They were denied the opportunity to present pertinent evidence and testimony to their case. Not once did they show their disrespect for the court rulings, or lose their dignity. I am amazed at them for being willing to take such a controversial case, with, I was to eventually learn, such a controversial defendant.

    I am thankful to hear that Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan, the federal government's prosecuting attorney, has nothing against sick people. Yet Bevan will appeal the sentence that Rosenthal not be imprisoned. Bevan is no doubt just doing his job and following the law. Doesn't he know that when he is asked to prosecute these medical marijuana cases, he can "just say no"?

    I am happy that in my great nation, when we experience a law that is bad, we can work toward changing it. I will be further thankful when the federal powers that be actually listen to their constituents.

    I am appreciative to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer who, after setting the rulings that disallowed evidence and testimony pertinent to the case, had the courage to atone for some of that with his compassionate sentencing of Rosenthal. I realize that, as Judge Breyer said, this is a unique case and does not set precedent. But to me, I saw, for a brief moment, the court system becoming more about people than just about laws.

    I am even grateful to Rosenthal that his ungracious public outburst before the cameras against Judge Breyer embarrassed me. This reminded me that my God has taught me about forgiveness, and I in turn must forgive Rosenthal and move on. I will give further thanks if Rosenthal's display did not ironically set the medical marijuana advances back a few paces in the public eye.

    Most of all, I am grateful for my fellow jurors. Their passion, dedication and fearlessness were truly an inspiration to me. They were relentless in their efforts to try and right a wrong that they felt they participated in. In my mind, they are true American heroes who have set an example for the rest of us. These people will forever have a warm and loving place in my heart.

    The defense is appealing the verdict. The prosecution is appealing the sentencing. This citizen is appealing to his president and asking if the president would like to come to dinner at my house. I have many questions that you might be able to answer. Where is there a victim here? If you legalized medical marijuana, regulated it and taxed it, wouldn't that help our federal deficit? What would you like to eat? My wife's a good cook.

    But mostly I want to ask: Why were the jurors put through this kind of a trial? We were average middle-class Americans, who were like shade plants that have been ripped out of the ground and put into the light. Now that the sentencing has been rendered, most will go back into the shade, although some may choose more filtered light.

    The jury is dismissed. We can all go home now. Or not.


    Interesting read.

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