Medical pot shop owner facing 100 years

July 18, 2008

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Charles C. Lynch sits in his South County home this weekend awaiting the start of a trial that poses for him the threat of a century in federal prison for doing what he thought was the right thing.

The parents of a San Luis Obispo County youth suffering from bone cancer agree with Lynch, as does a legion of supporters.

Not agreeing? San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Pat Hedges, and the federal government.

Lynch, former owner of a licensed Morro Bay medical marijuana dispensary, was at his business March 27, 2007, when he was visited by a joint team of well-armed and flak-jacketed San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies and federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents. They collected his inventory but made no arrest. Lynch reopened the business “with the blessing of the landlord and city officials,” he would later say.

The landlord would later report pressure from DEA authorities, and Lynch was forced to close in May 2007. He was arrested two months later, a first for Lynch. The Arroyo Grande man’s trial for marijuana sales starts Tuesday in U.S. District Court at 8 p.m. in Courtroom 10.

The business Lynch was operating is legal under California law. Federal law, however, views cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug and U.S. drug agents have demonstrated a tendency to enforce pot laws vigorously. Rulings on pre-trial motions have determined that jurors hearing Lynch’s case will not be told that he was running a compassionate marijuana business, properly and under California law. Instead, prosecutors will charge that Lynch is a drug king-pin who faces enhanced charges of selling the drug to a minor.

During a brief telephone conversation with Lynch Friday, a reporter could hear young children laughing and chattering in the background. Lynch referred all questions to his attorney, federal public defender Reven Cohen.

Lynch will begin his trial knowing that somewhere between the smiles, handshakes, and backslaps from city officials and Morro Bay business owners welcoming his business in 2006 came “the tip” – information and an invitation provided to federal drug enforcement authorities by Sheriff Hedges.

Hedges has said repeatedly that he is required to follow federal law because it preempts state regulation. The sheriff recently attempted to keep a few grams of medical marijuana confiscated from a county man who possessed a prescription from a physician. Though Hedges eventually gave the pot back to its owner after being threatened by a local judge, he remained adamant about his position. Hedges wrote in March to UncoveredSLO.com that he has “heard the argument that I am not required to enforce federal law. I would simply ask if I am required to comply with federal law. My opinion is that I am. I would hope that you would agree.”

Hedges added, “As sheriff, I retain all options that any other individual has as far as exercising my right to appeal.” He wondered “what law authorizes me to engage in the distribution of a controlled substance? It is my opinion that the legal system should be given an opportunity to answer the issues as they deal with distribution.”

Lynch faces enhanced sales charges because he sold medical pot to Owen Beck, a young athlete whose leg was amputated after physicians found cancer. With his parents’ permission, and after trying everything that contemporary medicine could provide, Beck turned to the medical marijuana dispensary for help. At that time, he was 17 and accompanied by his father.

Beck and his parents had reason to feel confidence in Lynch’s shop; Lynch was a member in good standing of the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, and had the endorsement and support of a wide variety of local officials and fellow business owners.

Beck said he found comfort with the pot for the first time since his disease had been diagnosed and his leg taken.

The story of Beck and Lynch has been told in a short documentary on reason.tv, narrated by television star and comedian Drew Carey.


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26 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: tarandfeatherthejerk on 6/14/09
    For the love of your country, read the constitution.

    Pat Hedges is in need of tarring and feathering and run out of the country. He took an oath to uphold the Constitution and broke it.

    Allowing the Constitutionally Criminal FBI to come into his town and arrest Charlie Lynch for LEGAL ACTIVITY was a total disreguard for the Constitution which I am sure Hedges is to ignorant to read or comprehend.

    Pat's wife shoulda grabbed his gun and done the whole country a favor.

    Charlie Lynch just got sentenced to a year in prison.

    Pat Hedges and Judge George Wu need to spend a year at the bottom of a lake attached to a nice large rock. Better stay in your own states guys where you have your buddies to protect you because your disregusrd for the Constitution qualifies you to not be safe in mine.
    By: Anonymous on 9/4/08
    As far as I can tell, no laws were broken. And you are harassing someone, spreading lies and falsehoods.

    If there are any hackers out there who can track down this guy's identity, please do and post it here. Maybe that will encourage SM Bill to sue this guy or bring some kind of criminal charges.

    I don't even know SM Bill, but I feel sorry for him and I would consider helping him nail your ass. You are the kind of horrible, stalker types who ruin communities. You, literally, have a mental problem and I suspect you have a very violent streak and do lots of mean despicable things to people and animals because of some kind of vengeance thing you have going on.

    You are disturbed and if we're lucky, you will get help from someone before more harm is done.

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  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 9/4/08
    To Law enforcement wanna-be.
    Nice try Bill aka Will. You don't know shit!
    It's not slander if it's public information…re-read the testimony of the women that we shocked that after one glass of wine how out of control, weak, and disoriented they were…
    Dumbass…That's sexual assault. Criminal charges should have been filed!
    By: Anonymous on 9/4/08
    Will Powers broke no law. I read the documents you posted. Then I reread your comments. I believe you have slandered him and I think he would have a decent case for winning a law suit against you on various grounds related to harassment and slander.

    I hope Santa Maria Bill prevails. I honestly don't know the man, but I view you as more of a menace to society. YOU still need to pay for your crimes.
    By: Anonymous on 9/4/08
    I agree with you! SM Bill aka Will Powers the counselor that had his license yanked by the state of California for having sex with up to 13 of his female clients while under his care is a freak!
    We know he used porn and his position of authority to sexual assualt them and we know he used Viagra to do it.
    But now you are saying he used mayo in his perverted criminal activities?
    Wow! That's news. Thanks for that.
    Now Bill (Will) makes sandwhichs behind a deli. I hope the female employees are safe from this pervert.
    By: Anonymous on 9/3/08
    Whatever the guy is talking about sure sounds freaky sick perverted. What's with the "mayo"?
    By: Anonymous on 9/3/08
    Hold the mayo bitch!
    Freeking pervert!
    By: Anonymous on 9/3/08
    You (cyber stalker) are sick.
    By: Anonymous on 9/2/08
    Shut up and make me a sandwhich fool!
    By: Anonymous on 9/2/08
    Dude, (Maniac stalker Dude, that is), go back and read your last 100 or so postings on this website. Think about it. Is that the kind of person you want to live with?

    He may not be insane, but it does sound like a diary from someone on the border of obsessed and deranged.

    Be honest with yourself. That IS what it sounds like to at least 90% of the people who would read it.

    The criticisms that I've read here directed toward you sound fair. These people don't want to hurt you. They sound concerned about you!

    And you have got to believe me when I say I have NO connection to SM Bill or Dave Congalton.

    I do feel sorry for both of them however. I don't think you are treating them fairly. You've told us all the stuff multiple times. So what are we supposed to do? Run them out of town? Take away their freedom of speech? Make it so they can never earn a living again? What is the purpose of all you attack posts? What do you want us to do?

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  3. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 9/1/08
    There you go, bringing up sex again!
    By: Anonymous on 9/1/08
    SM Bill continues to try and deflect the fact that he is the only sexually perverted sicko on this blog. I read all the comments and the only ones with a sick sexual obsession are his.
    Sm Bill is a sick perverted sexual deviant that used his power while a counselor to sexually assault as many as 13 women patients and his ass lost his license over it. But now he spews his perverted world on congalton's fail gig. They both are a lil too close. I wonder if there isn't something under the surface with those 2. Sure seems like it.
    Go away Will Powers…Your time here is over. The people have spoken again and you are out.
    Now go make me a sandwich you idiot!
    By: Anonymous on 9/1/08
    I checked out Congalton's blog and I like it.

    I understand he filters out the maniacal, sex oriented and anonymous harassing comments.

    By the way, what about those "14" people? Is there ANYTHING you tell the truth about?

    Seriously, I don't hate you or anything like that. I think Psychologist got it right. You need to talk with somebody about all this stuff and your need to attack people, and your obsession with sexual topics.

    You're not convincing anyone of anything except that your posts are very ugly, mean and suggest a very troubled, violent, vengeful personality who poses a danger to the community.

    Please accept that at least some of what I and others say is true. We want you to get help. People in your situation are often the last to realize how severe the situation is. Find someone you trust, ask them what they think about all this. I hope you find peace someday.
    By: Anonymous on 9/1/08
    Seems like congalton has sent the last 4 bloggers from his failed blog over here to try and defewnd him.
    Not gonna happen. dave has partnered up with a slime ball sex pervert smbill. He's modeled after moveon.org. He is filled with hate and anger and so are his attack dogs.
    Many are glad to see his real charachter here.
    USLO rocks and ego maniac dave hates it! He will stop at nothing to see it ruined but we won't let that happen.
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    And what about those 14 people you told us about? You don't fool anyone. And you are living a lie. I agree with Psychologist.
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    I'm NOT a liberal.
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    hahahahaha! Nice dodge fool!
    We all know you won't say who you are…you hide under your desk like all the other suck up libs.
    That's all the time I have for a slug like you.

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  4. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    My identity is not in question. YOU'RE the nut.

    Furthermore, since you have a track record of harassing and stalking people, it would not be prudent for me to present my real name to you, unless the public (and law enforcement) knows who YOU are.

    If you want to set up a meeting (for real) at the SLO County Sheriff's department or other law enforcement office, then I would consider it.

    I basically consider you highly dangerous and a threat. I'm sure this builds up your ego, so be it. Your lesson will come soon enough.
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    Let's start with you telling us your real name.
    Let's go from there. Or are you like all other radical libs? Do as you say not as you do?
    Fool!
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    You've got "odds"? Then make it a real bet.

    And why would YOU be so hesitant to give us your list? What do you (I mean "all of you") have to hide?

    I don't believe you are telling the truth, but if you make it a real, verifiable bet, for real money, with odds, maybe we can get to the bottom of all this. Right?
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    tell ya what…you go first. Let's start with you giving us your name.
    We have odds that you are congalton trying to save his ego. prove us wrong.
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    Would you be so kind as to list those "14" people? Most of us have a hard time believing there are so many sick, maniac cyber-stalkers continually posting here.

    And if there really are more than one, why don't you have a club meeting and quit harassing us and ruining this forum. Thank you.
    By: Anonymous on 8/31/08
    Put down the pipe pal and go solve some real crimes.
    At least 14 of us are in direct email contact. This is far from one…but if that's what yo need to live in denial then be our guest. You exposed yourself for the fool that you are.
    Stop listening to George Norry. Everything is NOT a conspiracy issue.
    By: Anonymous on 8/29/08
    Psychologist is right. This guy is the same stalker/maniac that harasses Dave Congalton and another individual (perhaps others) on a continual basis. The guy is seriously obsessed/disturbed and we pray to God he finds help before he further harms people or harms himself.

    There should be a law against what he is doing, and there might be. People like this usually have committed crimes of some kind, so his fall may be coming eventually. Hopefully he won't have hurt too many people by then.

    This guys B.S. is all over this website, hundreds of maniacal postings under hundreds of pseudonyms. He's a one man terrorist campaign. Seriously.
    By: Anonymous on 8/29/08
    Point taken. Best wishes.

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  5. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/28/08
    Just consider for a moment that what I say might be true.
    By: Anonymous on 8/28/08
    Psychologist says:
    I'm only trying to help you.

    Definition of Trying: Looking good while you fail…there is no trying.

    Stop posting all you crap. It's noy working, and it seems neither are you.
    By: Anonymous on 8/27/08
    I'm no doctor, but it seems to me everything "Psychologist" is telling you rings with a lot of insight and truth.

    So, if you want a cheap second opinion, there it is.

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss all this with your typical sarcasm. Maybe God is trying to tell you something.
    By: Anonymous on 8/27/08
    I'm only trying to help you. Feel free to get a second opinion.

    I will pray for you.
    By: Anonymous on 8/27/08
    You are a fake. No real health care professional would diagnose from random posts on a blog. Many Psychologist have done far more harm that good and you bring further distain to the reputation of what is a shakey pseudo science at best.

    Hang your shingle, but don't try and practice here. We come here for debate and sharing ideas not a diagnosis.
    By: Anonymous on 8/27/08
    "Sick of it All" remains truly unrepentant. Seriously, you could use professional help of some kind. You are not well and what you are doing—obsessing, attacking and harboring anger—is doing you considerable mental and physical harm.

    You need to break the vicious cycle. I am not joking. You are heading for some serious trouble, both mentally and physically unless you break your addiction to all the mischief you cause.

    You think you are being clever, but it is just an out-of-control ego trip you are on. You are doing yourself more harm than good, believe me.

    I am saying this for your good, not mine. Just consider it.
    By: Anonymous on 8/27/08
    Psychologist, I apologise. My earlier response to you was infantile.

    In fact, I have sent an email to Karen asking her to remove my first post due to the link I included.

    Peace.
    By: Anonymous on 8/27/08
    Psychologist, heal thyself.

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  6. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/26/08
    Hey "sick of it", look at what you are doing: spreading negativity wherever you go. You're not changing anyone's mind about anything. You're really hurting yourself and you will realize this more clearly as you grow older. Crapping all over people for "fun" isn't getting you anywhere. You're problem lies much deeper. Try to do something positive with what's left of your life, before it is too late. There is still good in you; dig down and find it. Spread joy , not anger and vengeance.

    You're not fooling anyone in the long run. As far as your extreme conservative stance, all your postings under your ever changing pseudonyms, if they fool anyone, only make conservatives sound like mean, angry, fanatic nut-cases.

    Go back and read all you've written. Is there ANY of it you would be proud to have your REAL name attached to? Any? Is there anything you've written that is helping anyone in any way?

    Think of all the time you've spent. For what? Is the "attention" really worth it?

    Go out and HELP someone and maybe you can begin to feel better about associating your name with your actions.
    By: Anonymous on 8/25/08
    Great post.
    Thank you
    By: Anonymous on 8/25/08
    Yeah, it's all peace, love and hooray for acid until somebody gets hurt.

    Go to a psych ward sometime and visit somebody who has completely fried their mind on what you say is "not newsworthy". Better yet, go down by the creek where it flows through the park on Santa Rosa street. Talk to some of the homeless people there; many of them have had their lives destroyed by what you call "no big deal".

    Drug dealers shoul get the death penalty, especially those selling to children.
    By: Anonymous on 8/23/08
    Maybe it's time for YOU to wake up to what's going on.

    These days more people in the United States partake of LSD and magic mushrooms than they did in the 1960s. WAY MORE.

    It is no longer very newsworthy; it is just a fact. No big deal.

    I met a guy a few years ago who has sold more than a million hits of acid in a relatively short period of time. SOMEBODY must be using the stuff.

    Psychedelics are so much a part of our culture that one hardly can notice it anymore. (But you're more likely to notice if you too are "experienced." )
    By: Anonymous on 8/23/08
    The 60's can never die, for they live on in each of us, the private real estate of the soul and spirit.

    Peace. Love. Pass the bud.

    Out.
    By: Anonymous on 8/23/08
    Dude…the 60's are over man! Recycle your tie die wardrobe and patchuli oil.
    Go outside every 3-5 years…the times they are a changin!

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  7. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/22/08
    Would you care to tell me what exactly you think is so wrong and "disgraceful" about psychedelics like LSD and magic mushrooms when used at appropriate time and place?

    You might be surprised how many people have experienced LSD. The entire personal computer business wouldn't be what it is today but for the insights and inspirations taken during LSD trips.
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    You are a disgrace to the US military!
    Grow up!
    By: Anonymous on 8/19/08
    And why shouldn't adults have the right to ingest psychedelic mushrooms in the privacy of their home?

    Obviously some of these people commenting here have never taken a psychedelic drug before. Then again, maybe some of them shouldn't.

    As Dr. Leary explained: "You don't put rocket fuel into a V.W."
    By: Anonymous on 8/18/08
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/fact
    By: Anonymous on 8/18/08
    Dig those medical mushrooms!
    By: Anonymous on 8/17/08
    I have experience smoking pot, and I'd say that while smoking it does have its hazards, being prosecuted for it is much worse, and costs taxpayers a fortune.

    There are also legitimate doctors who prescribe medical marijuana to improve the quality patient's lives.

    It's true that it is over-prescribed and abused by some for whom it may be a detriment, but there are others who can be helped by it. I've talked about this with top rank cancer and heart doctors and they agree. They feel it is appropriate medication for some patients and have recommended it more than once, and continue doing so.

    The laws against pot are archaic and barbarian.
    By: Anonymous on 8/15/08
    Pot is good…if you want to ruin your life.
    By: Anonymous on 8/12/08
    Morro Bay Liberal probably works for the Sheriffs department, maybe even the dog Hedges himself, and is likely responsible for leaving behind the 'all hippies die' message during the raid of the Morro Bay Medical Marijuana Dispensary. Also I have heard that Hedges ex wife grows marijuana.
    By: Anonymous on 8/11/08
    Since SLO wants to be just like San Fransisco we need pot shops now!
    By: Anonymous on 8/6/08
    You have a liberal congress set to become more liberal, change the law. If you knew anything you would know that state's rights ended with the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

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  8. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/6/08
    Don't blame high gas prices on liberals. It was clear from the day George W. Bush became President, that by the time he left office gasoline prices would have reached the highest in history and oil companies would be earning their greatest profits ever.

    You think it is just a coincidence that the Bush family is heavily involved with the oil industry?

    P.S. The laws against medical marijuana are obscene and make no sense. They cost our society big time with no tangible benefits. Replace Sheriff Hedges!
    By: Anonymous on 8/5/08
    TO
    "To Smokey says:

    Nancy "Stretch" Pelosi and her marxist cohorts have given you $4+ a gallon gas.
    Does that count?"

    Pretty obvious who has been smoking, not me. The value of this methane is questionable. I agree with Hadenuf
    By: Anonymous on 8/5/08
    Like I said "The nights are the worst in prison"
    By: Anonymous on 8/5/08
    Nancy "Stretch" Pelosi and her marxist cohorts have given you $4+ a gallon gas.
    Does that count?
    By: Anonymous on 8/5/08
    What ever happened to STATES RIGHTS!!! We need a California Tea Party!(that could be fun} What has the Fed done for you lately? Then again what has the state government done for you….
    By: Anonymous on 8/5/08
    I guess now we know without a doubt that it is illegal to run a commercial pot shop in the United States
    By: Anonymous on 8/4/08
    Sooooooo lets arrest and send the person trying to help people ease there pain and suffering to prison for 100 years? Are you kidding me? I will NEVER understand this damn state and the people who run it. You know whats sad all these sexual predators & murders half the time get a slap on the wrist for HURTING people and here we have someone trying to HELP people and we want to send him to prison? I stand behind Charles Lynch 100%!
    By: Anonymous on 8/4/08
    Your assumptions are wrong again.

    I actually own a business and have an income that doesn't require ANY government assistance, and I'm too young to collect social security.

    What about you?

    Obama has already made the United States a better place, by inspiring people to get involved in the political system, and shifting the political dialogue in directions that will help rebuild the United States from the devastation it has suffered under the Bush Administration.

    Barack Obama is already a winner. He is smart, he is strong, he is practical, and, obviously, he is the more capable candidate.

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