Charles Lynch, owner of the now defunct Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers, was denied a retrial on Jan. 5. Lynch, who was convicted last year on conspiracy and marijuana related charges stemming from his operation of the medical marijuana dispensary, faces a mandatory five years prison time. Lynch returned home to his house in Arroyo Grande after the ruling, where he will wait for his sentencing hearing in February.
The normally shy Lynch has become the poster child for reform in federal drug policies. In California, and several other states, marijuana has been approved for use by patients with a doctor’s recommendation. The federal government, however, does not recognize any medical benefits of the herb, and considers it to be illegal in every instance. Recently, the federal DEA has targeted marijuana dispensaries in California, seeking to eliminate the aboveground market.
In arguing for the retrial, Lynch’s public defenders had said the conspiracy count was improper. It was based on a marijuana sale between one of Lynch’s former employees and an undercover police officer, but the former employee has since stated that the sale was unrelated to Lynch’s dispensary.