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Medicinal Marijuana User Sentenced For Second Time


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For the second time in five years, Bryan James Epis, the first person associated with a California cannabis buyers' club to be tried in a federal court for growing marijuana, was sentenced Friday in Sacramento to 10 years in prison.

But U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. denied prosecutor Samuel Wong's request that the 41-year-old Epis be taken into custody immediately. Instead, the judge set a hearing for Oct. 22 on defense attorney Brenda Grantland's forthcoming motion for bail, pending appeal.

Damrell indicated he is leaning toward release, noting that he believes the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "may have some interest" in issues that Grantland will bring before it.

In July 2002, a jury found Epis planned to eventually grow at least 1,000 marijuana plants and that he did grow at least 100 plants in the spring of 1997 at his Chico residence. The fact that the house is within 1,000 feet of Chico Senior High School is one reason Epis is not eligible for a term less than 10-year mandatory minimum attached to the 1,000-plant conviction.

Epis testified at trial that he started using marijuana to manage chronic pain from a near-fatal car accident. He also testified that he started the basement growing operation after Proposition 215 - California's initiative that allows medicinal use with a doctor's recommendation - was approved by voters in November 1996.

The Epis case has remained a rallying point for medical marijuana proponents nationwide, who view it as the ultimate injustice to come from the chasm between state law and the zero-tolerance federal law.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Sacramento Bee
Author: Denny Walsh
Contact: dwalsh@sacbee.com
Copyright: 2007 The Sacramento Bee
Website:The Sacramento Bee
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