Pardon me for caring

Nov 25, 2008

Aaron Smith, Bush, Charles Lynch, Pardon

Yesterday, George W. Bush began the time-honored tradition of granting pardons to convicted felons in the president’s final days in the White House. 14 pardons and two commuted sentences were announced late last night, and more are expected to be handed down before he leaves office on January 20.

Two former politicians who have been convicted of public corruption charges are looking to the president in hopes that he will shorten their prison sentences. Some pundits are even speculating that he may offer “preemptive” pardons to those involved in the unconstitutional torture of terrorism suspects after 9-11.

I wonder if President Bush has given any thought to pardoning some of the medical marijuana patients and caregivers his administration has helped to prosecute?

One such unfortunate person who comes to mind is Charles C. Lynch of Morro Bay, California.

When Charles opened a city-licensed medical marijuana collective on California’s Central Coast, the community welcomed him with open arms. The city’s mayor even helped cut the ribbon at the chamber of commerce welcoming ceremony. The collective provided a safe and legal supply of medical marijuana to seriously ill patients for nearly a year before federal agents raided the facility and arrested Charles on federal drug charges.

During the ensuing trial, federal prosecutors described Charles as a common drug dealer and blocked any mention of medical marijuana from being brought forth by his defense. As a result, a jury found Charles guilty on five counts of federal drug charges. His sentencing hearing is set for January 5 and he could face up to 100 years in prison for following his heart (and state law) by helping patients to get their medicine.

I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a presidential pardon than Charles C. Lynch and others like him whose only crime was helping to relive suffering.

For more on Charles' plight, check out this video.