For Immediate Release: April 10th, 2003
Medical Marijuana "Truth in Trials Act" Unveiled
Californian Jurors, Patients, & Families Appeal to Congress
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Hilary McQuie
April 10, 2003 510-333-8554
Washington DC – In the wake of the widely publicized trial of medical marijuana provider Ed Rosenthal and the subsequent “jurors’ revolt”, U.S. Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) today introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1717 – the “Patients’ and Providers’ Truth in Trials Act” to legalize medical need as a valid defense in future federal prosecutions.
The Rosenthal case sparked outrage nationwide, starting with the jurors who felt they had been duped into convicting an innocent man. "It seems like we made a horrible mistake. I should have stood up and said, 'I'm not convicting,’ “ juror Marney Craig said. Craig has taken her message to the road that no one else should be put in her position. "We convicted a man who was not a criminal. Jurors need to hear the whole story."
A growing number of state-approved medical marijuana patients and caregivers have been convicted in federal courts in California for growing and distributing a controlled substance. Juries that were denied crucial information about the defendant’s compliance with California’s medical marijuana laws handed down these convictions. A federal trial starts later this month in Los Angeles of medical marijuana patients and providers Judy and Lynn Osburn. They face Ed Rosenthal’s situation of not being allowed to present a medical defense.
Rep. Sam Farr was joined by a number of Californians: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA); Marney Craig, a juror from Rosenthal’s trial; Steph Sherer, director of the California-based medical marijuana rights organization, Americans for Safe Access; Ashley Epis, the 8 year old daughter of Bryan Epis, a patient serving a ten year prison sentence for marijuana cultivation; and Valerie Corral, director of the WAMM medical marijuana cooperative in Santa Cruz who was subject to DEA raids last September.
Steph Sherer of Americans for Safe Access applauded the bill, “This bill is a pivotal moment for the sick and dying patients who use marijuana as medicine. This is our chance to stop the Rosenthal fiasco from repeating itself and restore the integrity of the courts.” HR 1717 applies only to federal trials in states that have passed laws allowing the distribution and use of marijuana, under a doctor's prescription, for medical use.