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The man some see as the Mother Teresa of medical marijuana was convicted Friday of three felonies, a verdict that could send him to federal prison for the rest of his life. Supporters wept and chanted outside federal court while Ed Rosenthal’s defense attorney wore defeat heavily. Rosenthal himself, meanwhile, stood in front of a cluster of news cameras and continued to indict the federal government’s pursuit of California medical marijuana dispensaries and those who support them. “[The jury] didn’t have the whole truth. They didn’t have nothing but the truth. They had lies and deceptions and half-truths,” Rosenthal said. “This was not a trial. This was a kangaroo trial.” Lawyers for the High Times columnist and author of several how-to books on growing marijuana said they would ask U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California for a new trial. Barring that, they vowed to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “It was a growth experience,” said defense lawyer Robert Eye of Topeka, Kan. “Nobody ever said change was easy. Nobody ever said it would happen overnight.” Rosenthal was arrested in February 2002 during a series of federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries. He was accused of supplying marijuana for the Harm Reduction Center in San Francisco. Throughout, Rosenthal’s family appeared confident in court, chatting casually with reporters and supporters alike. But coming after just hours of jury deliberations, the verdict brought them to tears. Breyer barred the use of a medical marijuana defense under California’s Proposition 215, saying federal law supersedes state law. Repeatedly, defense lawyers tried to put the purpose of Rosenthal’s operation in front of the jury in spite of Breyer’s orders. Those attempts were the source of constant sparks in the courtroom. Jury foreman Charles Sackett III spoke to reporters after the trial. “We had no legal wiggle room,” said Sackett, who added that he hopes the verdicts are overturned on appeal, according to The Associated Press. Hilary McQuie, campaign coordinator of Americans for Safe Access, said she spoke to five jurors, all women. “I asked them if they understood it was medical. And they said they did, and they felt really, really badly about it,” McQuie said. McQuie said one woman wanted to become an activist for medical marijuana and took her business card. McQuie said she told jurors they could have ignored the law, prompting an emotional reaction. “How could we know that?” McQuie said one extremely upset woman told her. Rosenthal didn’t blame the jury, or the witnesses who testified against him. “These people, they really weren’t given much of a choice,” he said. “All of California’s medical laws are under threat of being taken over by the federal government.” Defense attorney Eye was dejected. “Ed, doing the right thing, is going to pay a terrible price.” Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman Richard Meyer said he was pleased with the verdict. “We feel that the people of California have spoken,” Meyer said. “We’re pleased with the verdict. We’re happy with what happened today.” In a Pyrrhic victory, the jury found that Rosenthal had fewer than 1,000 plants, a figure that will come into play once Breyer sentences Rosenthal. The government had alleged that he had more than 1,000. He was convicted of conspiracy, manufacturing a controlled substance and maintaining a place for the manufacture of a controlled substance. “We beat three-quarters of the plant count,” said Oakland, Calif., solo William Simpich Jr., Rosenthal’s second defense attorney. Rosenthal, free on $200,000 bond, is scheduled for a detention hearing this week. Sentencing is scheduled for June 4.

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