HILO - A new Rally and March in support of Rev. Roger Christie has been planned for Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in Hilo.

Christie was arrested by federal agents on July 8, 2010, along with 13 members of his congregation. All of the “Green 13″ — as they are known locally — have been released on bond. But Christie himself was denied bail and remains behind bars at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center (FDC) awaiting trial next year on Marijuana Trafficking charges.

In July, US Federal District Court Judge Alan Kay in Honolulu supported the prosecutor’s claims that Christie represents a “danger to the community”.

In August, the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals in San Francisco summarily denied Christie’s appeal without a review.

“Roger Christie’s incarceration without bail and before trial is shocking and unjust,” said Hilo attorney Paul Sulla. “It is intended to drive fear into the public debate over the de-criminalization of the cannabis plant. ”

Sulla is one of Directors of the Cannabis Charity Education and Defense Fund, or CCEDF, the organizer of the March and Rally.

“After the appeal of the bail decision was denied,” Sulla told Hawaii News Daily. ”The US Attorney’s Office next requested a continuance of the trial date on the grounds that the case against Christie was a ‘complex trial’ necessitating more time to prepare. The court then granted the prosecution another 7 months to prepare for trial without addressing the release of Christie during this extended period.”

Christie and the Green 13’s trial has now been re-scheduled for April 26, 2011 in Honolulu, a 50 minute plane flight from Christie’s home turf in Hilo.

The cost of Christie’s incarceration at the FDC was reported to be $150 per week, or $600 per month for such necessities such as telephone, fax, and email privileges — and to purchase healthy meals and for other necessities from the prison commissary. Because Christie has been jailed before trial, his ability to mount an effective defense has been substantially impaired. Many of these costs are associated with Christie’s ability to communicate with witnesses, gather information to support for his defense and work on his case while being held without bail.

A previous march and rally for Christie sponsored by the group was held in Hilo on August 18. That event drew a crowd of 200, according to KITV in Honolulu.

Last week, members and guests of the Cannabis Charity met in Hilo to plan the next rally and to address the conditions surrounding Christie’s continued incarceration.

Members of board expected the turn-out for the next Rally to increase on public outrage and indignation over Christie’s continued confinement before trial — now exceeding 60 days.

Sulla said Christie’s plight was within the charter of the Cannabis Charity to assist those in need on account of their criminal prosecution for medical, religious or adult private use and/or cultivation of the cannabis plant.

“We can help Roger,” Said Paul Sulla. “Our group was formed to help people who are criminally in peril as a result their private personal use and/or cultivation of the cannabis plant and its derivatives. The public through CCEDF can do something to help defray Roger’s out of pocket legal costs while he is incarcerated and we intend to follow through with this support as long as it is needed.”

Sulla said the theme of next March and Rally will be to “Get Up, Stand Up for Your Rights.”

“The approach of the CCEDF is to align with existing cannabis churches, support groups, politicians and the supporting citizens to increase awareness of the real medical and social benefits of the cannabis plant,” said Sulla. “The Cannabis plant is sacred to many, and the criminalization of its use is not the answer. This is a public health concern — not a matter for criminal courts.”

The Rally for Roger Christie will be held in Hilo on September 22, beginning at 3pm, followed by a march beginning around 4:30pm. Location to be announced.


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Copyright: 2010 MND's Cannabis Liberty
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Website:Cannabis Charity Plans New March for Roger Christie | MND's Cannabis Liberty