Eddy Lepp's Case Dismissed!
Date: Wednesday, December 13 @ 20:35:54 UTC
NEWS FLASH! Eddy Lepp's marijuana growing case has been dismissed! This is GREAT news!
Background: Eddy Lepp and his church was raided in 2004 and more than 30,000 cannabis plants that were being grown for medical marijuana patients and church members were confiscated by US federal agents. The huge plot of land located in Lake County, California was then subject to confiscation as well, but this dismissal clears that land to once again be a productive marijuana farm. In fact, Eddy and his church may now be able to sue the Feds for compensation for the missing plants which they seized as evidence - which of course have all now disappeared. Those plants had a value of millions of dollars.
It seems the Feds were reluctant to pursue this bust once it became clear that Eddy had an established Church, and the raid was against a church. Apparently none of that was stated the search warrant, so the case was dismissed.
This is a HUGE victory for the religious use of marijuana.
I was able to review some of the backroom negotiations between the Feds and Eddy and the Rev. Tom Brown. It clearly indicated the reluctance of the Feds to pursue a case against a church. The Feds fought hard to keep the bust viewed as an illegal grow rather than a religious rights issue. Apparently the Feds have cold feet when it comes to religious freedom and cannabis.
While this might not be a precendent setting case for religious use, it did expose the Feds weakness and reluctance to persecute churches and their members for growing marijuana.
I will write more on this subject once I have the actual decision in hand. In any case, it pioneered the religious use defense, and in Eddys particular case, it may confer some immunity from further prosecution and persecution by the Feds. The state of California and the County government have stopped interfering with Eddy's operation, but have nevertheless cooperated with the Feds in their raids. That kind of cooperation may not be so easy to obtain in the future, especially against Eddy and his church.
Read more about Eddys 2004 32,000 plant bust.