In the case of the first-ever federal conviction of a medical marijuana patient and caregiver, Bryan Epis is facing a mandatory minimum prison term of ten years when he is sentenced August 26th. Epis was convicted on July 11th for criminal conspiracy and drug manufacturing charges stemming from his administration of the Chico Medical Marijuana Caregivers in Butte County, California. The facility distributed marijuana to seriously ill people who qualified under California’s Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215).
WHEREAS the voters of California, to ensure that seriously ill medical patients have safe and legal access to marijuana when recommended by their physician, overwhelmingly passed Proposition 215, the California Compassionate Use Act (CCUA) on November 6, 1996;
WHEREAS the Supreme Court of the State of California has ruled that "the possession and cultivation of marijuana is no more criminal --- so long as [the CCUA's] conditions are satisfied -- than the possession and acquisition of any prescription drug with a physician's prescription;"
WHEREAS Byan Epis, in accordance with the CCUA, obtained a recommendation to use cannabis from a licensed physician for chronic upper back and neck pain that he received as the result of fracturing two vertebrae in a near-fatal car accident;
WHEREAS Federal agents arrested Bryan Epis in a June 25, 1997 raid on his house for conspiracy to grow 1000 plants of medical cannabis for the Chico Medical Marijuana Caregivers dispensary despite his care to follow the CCUA in accordance with the best available legal advice;
WHEREAS under this charge he will serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life imprisonment that will take him away from his 5-year-old daughter;
WHEREAS at his trial, Epis was forbidden by the court to testify or present evidence about his medical condition, his physician's recommendation or the existence of the California law upon which he relied.
WHEREAS Bryan Epis never intended to provide marijuana to any purpose other than a legitimate medical purpose, and never profited in any way from cultivating or distributing marijuana to seriously ill persons;
NOW THEREFORE, THE UNDERSIGNED CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES DO HEREBY PETITION PRESIDENT BUSH TO:
Immediately use his authority under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution to pardon Bryan Epis in full;
Direct the Department of Justice to announce that it will not prosecute any medical patient in any state or locality where the law permits legal access to marijuana for medical purposes, who is in compliance with the local law.