John Stossel

He was helping people, wasn't he? I asked Hedges.

"Well, you're making an assumption that he's helping people. He was primarily helping himself."

The sheriff's office's staked out Charlie's dispensary and sent in undercover agents to see if Charlie was breaking any part of California's law. He wasn't.

So after a year of diligently documenting that marijuana was indeed being sold by a marijuana dispensary, the sheriff handed the case over to the federal police, the DEA. U.S. law ludicrously calls marijuana a schedule 1 narcotic. That puts it in the same category as heroin.

Federal authorities cleverly avoided California's state courts and took Charlie into federal court, where his lawyers were not even allowed to tell the jury that medical marijuana is legal in California. Not surprisingly, Charlie was convicted. Possible sentence: 100 years in federal prison.

He told me his life has been destroyed. He is bankrupt; his girlfriend left him; and friends are afraid to talk to him.

President Obama has joked about his own marijuana use, but since his inauguration, federal police have raided five marijuana dispensaries in states where state law permits them. Last week, however, the administration announced it would no longer raid legal dispensaries. That bought Charlie Lynch some time. This week the federal judge postponed sentencing -- pending more information about the Justice Department's new policy.

The feds still wanted to lock up Charlie Lynch. I don't know why. The DEA refuses to talk to me about it.

The war on drugs is idiotic. It deters few, drives drug use underground -- making it more dangerous -- and creates horrible crime.

Adults should be free to ingest whatever they want, knowing they are responsible for their actions.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate