Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

October 14, 2006 - New York Times (NY)

Medical Marijuana Advocate Faces New U.S. Indictment

By Carolyn Marshall

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

SAN FRANCISCO - A leading medical marijuana advocate who successfully appealed his federal conviction this year has been indicted on new criminal charges that include tax evasion and money laundering.

The man, Ed Rosenthal, a well-known spokesman for the movement to legalize marijuana, was already facing a retrial on federal charges of growing marijuana for medical use.

He is to be arraigned Monday in Federal District Court here on the new indictment, unsealed late Thursday.

It accuses Mr. Rosenthal, 61, of 14 felony charges that include cultivating marijuana plants; laundering $1,850, which the government says he got from selling the plants to medical dispensaries; and tax evasion.

His tax returns, prosecutors said, omitted income from the sale of the plants.

Reached Friday at his home in Oakland, Mr. Rosenthal said he thought the efforts to prosecute him were part of a campaign to shutter medical marijuana sites in California and to subvert the state law allowing them.

"They want to shut me up," he said. "They are vindictive. They don't like anybody beating them, and they will go after you again and again until they wear you down."

The state and the federal government have been locked in a legal and cultural battle over the medicinal merits of marijuana since 1996, when California voters approved a ballot measure giving seriously ill patients the right to buy and use the drug with a doctor's prescription.

The Drug Enforcement Agency has been aggressive in investigating medical marijuana facilities. Last week, the authorities raided and closed five Bay Area sites, arresting 15 people.

A spokesman for the United States attorney's office, Luke Macaulay, would not comment on the new indictment, but said, "Drugs are a priority for the Justice Department, being that marijuana is illegal under federal law."

The new charges against Mr. Rosenthal are similar to those in a 2002 federal indictment.

At the time, Mr. Rosenthal worked for the City of Oakland and was sanctioned under city and state laws to grow marijuana plants and sell them to dispensaries.

He was convicted by a jury, but a federal appeals court overturned the decision, citing juror misconduct.

He was granted a new trial, and prosecutors were moving forward, but the new federal indictment supersedes the earlier one.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact