During the first day of Charles Lynch’s federal trial there were only a few people in the courtroom besides Lynch and a couple of lawyers. Seeing a throng of medical marijuana supporters gathered on the steps of the federal courthouse in L.A. on Feb. 23, he said, was therefore somewhat of a shock.
“When all of this started,” Lynch said, “the first day of the trial I was fighting this on my own. It really helps me move through this, knowing I’m not doing it on my own.”
Lynch’s supporters called on President Obama for a change in federal drug policy. And Lynch himself appeared at the rally donning a crown of thorns, like a man about to be crucified by the federal government.
Among the attendees at the rally were Lynch’s mother, who flew from New Mexico to be there, and Cheryl Aichele, a Los Angeles medical marijuana activist. Both women filed complaints against SLO County Sheriff Pat Hedges last month for his role investigating Lynch while he ran Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers in Morro Bay.
Since he was convicted in August, Lynch has become the poster boy for concerns with federal marijuana policy. Now Lynch is facing sentencing under federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, even though his crimes were non-violent in nature.
Lynch started using marijuana to treat migraine headaches, which have not diminished since he was arrested. After the noon protest, Lynch headed inside the courthouse to report for drug testing. Lynch is no longer permitted to use marijuana. The federal government does not consider the drug to have any medical benefits.
Lynch is expected to face sentencing March 23.