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

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.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User