Federal judge sends Calif. man back to prison for medipot | TheUnion.com
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Federal judge sends Calif. man back to prison for medipot

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-A federal judge on Monday sent back to prison a Chico man who was the first medical marijuana dispensary grower to be tried in federal court.

Bryan Epis, 42, was told by U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell Jr. that he had exhausted his appeals and was ordered back to prison after a six-year hiatus.

Epis received a 10-year sentence in 2002 after a federal jury convicted him of growing 100 plants and planning at least 1,000 more. The sentence was the mandated minimum because the grow house was within 1,000 feet of a high school.



In 2004, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals freed Epis after he had served two years as the U.S. Supreme Court, in a separate case, considered whether the federal Controlled Substances Act trumps state medical pot law.

Under that federal law, marijuana is an illegal substance. In California, users with a doctor’s recommendation can buy pot from dispensaries.




The nation’s high court in 2005 ruled that California’s medical marijuana laws were overruled by federal law, so Epis was ordered to serve the remainder of the 10 years.

Since then, Epis had remained out of prison while his lawyer challenged other aspects of his conviction. The 9th Circuit ruled in the government’s favor on those issues last year, paving the way for his return to prison.

Epis’ case has become a cause among medical marijuana advocates, who have used it to demonstrate the contradictions between state and federal statutes governing medical marijuana.


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