|Medical marijuana activist/provider Mickey Martin: “I was not a criminal then, nor am I one now”
More than 50 people rallied outside the federal building in downtown Oakland, Calif., Monday to protest a one-year halfway house sentence for a medical marijuana activist, and to demand the federal government respect states’ rights regarding medicinal cannabis.
Leading the rally was Michael “Mickey” Martin, who has been sentenced to two years of non-prison confinement after his March 26, 2008 guilty plea for “conspiring to manufacture and distribute” a mixture containing “a detectable amount of marijuana,” reports KTVU-TV
Martin, 35, ran Tainted Inc., later known as Compassion Medical Edibles, an Oakland-based business producing candies, cookies, ice cream, brownies, energy drinks and other consumables containing cannabis.
The former El Sobrante resident, who now lives in Pleasant Hill, has completed one year of home confinement. Today Martin began serving one year at a halfway house in San Francisco.
Federal agents claimed they found 400 marijuana plants during a raid of Martin’s Oakland facility in September 2007.
”I was not a criminal then, nor am I one now,” said Martin, who describes himself as a “political prisoner.”
Martin said all he was doing was “providing medicine to sick people.”
Going to bat for Martin at Monday’s rally was Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan, who said she’s “proud and honored” Oakland has created legal permits allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate.
While California’s Compassionate Use Act, passed by voters in 1996, allows patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval, federal laws don’t recognize the medical use of cannabis.
According to Lauren Payne with the Oakland chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which advocates for patients’ access to medical marijuana, about 100 medical marijuana providers from California have faced federal charges.
After Monday’s rally at the federal building, protesters marched a few blocks to the nearby state building in downtown Oakland to ask California to do more to protect medical marijuana patients and providers.