SAN FRANCISCO, May 5 (UPI) — A federal appeals court has upheld the 10-year prison sentence given the first California supplier of medical marijuana convicted of federal charges.
Brian Epis of Chico in northern California was arrested in 1997 when investigators found 458 marijuana plants in his home and convicted after a trial in federal court in Sacramento. Prosecutors charged that he was growing marijuana for a profit, but Epis, who had a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana for neck and back pain, said he was growing it for his own use and to share with a few others with medical problems.
A federal appeals panel in San Francisco, in a ruling last month, denied Epis’s claim that he thought he was acting legally because California voters had approved Proposition 215, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The court also found that a large-scale marijuana operation can have an impact on interstate commerce.
Advocates plan to ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing.