Thursday, July 9, 2009

Eddy Lepp's final walk of freedom

Marijuana activist Eddy Lepp took his final walk as a free man this week before turning himself in to serve a minimum mandatory 10-year sentence at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, Calif.

The Lake County resident, who cultivated thousands of plants for patients and Rastafarians, drove through San Luis Obispo County, where he contacted Charles C. Lynch, before continuing on for prison processing.

Lynch, also recently convicted of selling medical marijuana from his Morro Bay dispensary and sentenced last month to one year, one day in federal prison, joined Lepp for his final leg of freedom.

Lynch remains free pending appeal.

“During that last mile,” Lynch wrote in an article for the Salem News, “Eddy stated that he was not afraid of jail as his camera man and others listened in great admiration and sorrow.

“They passed around one more cigarette of the sacred herb and Eddy drank a Dr. Pepper as his camera man recorded Eddy’s testimony.

“I fought back tears as other grown men cried outwardly.”

If anyone could sympathize with Lepp, it’s Lynch, who also experienced the injustice of the so-called war on drugs, where the government puts people away for victimless crimes, destroying businesses and family relationships, and seizing assets.

“As we drove up to the penitentiary I just couldn’t stop thinking how wrong this is to put people away and to break up families for marijuana,” Lynch wrote.

“It just seemed so cruel to take Eddy from his wife, his friends, and from society.

“They were not hurting anybody; they are just living the kind of life that makes them happy, the kind of life that millions of Americans live on a daily basis.”

Lepp, 56, told the Lake County News that a 10-year minimum is a "friggin’ life sentence.”

He’s worried about his daughter, who recently was diagnosed with polyps in her throat. Her mother, Lepp’s first wife, died from throat cancer after similar polyps were found.

“I’m just scared to death, she’s barely in her 30s,” the News quoted Lepp.

His new wife, Linda, reported the Lake County paper, will remain on their Upper Lake property, where no medical marijuana garden has been grown since 2004.

Meanwhile, friends and family bade farewell in a tearful departure before federal guards took Lepp away and told everyone to leave. §

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