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A witness for the prosecution in last year’s federal case against Ed Rosenthal is now suing the medical marijuana guru for defamation. Rosenthal, the author of more than a half-dozen books on growing marijuana, was accused of growing pot supplied to a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary. Robert Martin was subpoenaed by the prosecution and testified under immunity about checks he had written Rosenthal on behalf of the dispensary. Now Martin claims Rosenthal, who was convicted but given a notably light one-day sentence, won’t stop bad-mouthing him. In a defamation suit filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, Martin complains Rosenthal keeps calling him a “snitch” and telling people to avoid doing business with his two cannabis clinics. “I’ve never suggested that people not do business with him. I’ve just pointed out � that he was willing to testify against me,” Rosenthal said Tuesday, adding that others can draw their own conclusions about Martin. Martin said he’s not seeking financial compensation. “It’s about trying to get him to retract things that he said,” said Martin, whose attorney, Matthew Kumin, was out of town. “I want a public apology.” Martin maintains he was compelled to testify, but remained sympathetic to the defense. The complaint notes that U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer wouldn’t permit Rosenthal to present a medical marijuana defense, ruling that federal law superseded a state law that says patients and caregivers who use pot for medical purposes shouldn’t be prosecuted. According to his complaint, Martin “understood the quandary” Rosenthal faced and tried to help by emphasizing in his testimony that the cannabis was for a medical marijuana facility. His suit adds that a few days later Rosenthal shook his hand outside the courtroom and said the testimony had helped his case. But since about April 2003, Rosenthal has impugned his reputation, Martin claims. In one alleged encounter outlined in the suit, Martin claims Rosenthal approached him at a convention of marijuana advocates last year and began calling Martin a snitch. The crowd nearby, in support of Rosenthal, began yelling “snitch” and “get the snitch out,” Martin’s complaint says. Before Martin sued him, Rosenthal sued Martin in small claims court, seeking about $4,500 he claims he’s owed for plants. Rosenthal says he got a favorable judgment there, but Martin appealed; they’re scheduled to meet in court again Thursday. Rosenthal is unrepentant. “He’s willing to cooperate with the government, and he has in the past, so he’s unreliable. I’ll say it over and over,” he said.

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