The man behind San Luis Obispo's only and now-defunct medical marijuana dispensary recently pleaded not guilty to several federal criminal charges that he distributed large amounts of cannabis, including to minors.
On Aug. 6, in a Los Angeles courtroom, Charles Lynch, the former owner of Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers, pleaded not guilty to manufacturing and distributing marijuana, distributing marijuana to a person under 21, possession with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug-involved premise, and aiding and abetting to distribute marijuana.
Lynch was arrested at his Arroyo Grande home on July 17 and was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. He was later released on $400,000 bail.
Lynch's initial encounter with federal law enforcement agents occurred on March 29 when his Morro Bay-based cannabis co-op was raided.
In an attempt to help raise money for Lynch's legal fees, supporters founded the Friends of Charles C. Lynch fund.
"I feel very confident that Charles is not guilty," said Gina Armstrong, a former dispensary employee and member of the fund. "He's not done anything wrong.
"The whole problem is the county is making Charles look like a drug dealer that's not true," she said. "If you know anything about Charles, he wasn't about the cannabis or the money."
Lynch is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 16 for a pre-trial conference.
Lynch's attorney, Lou Koory, declined to comment for this story.