Former Morro Bay Dispensary Owner Struggling to Move On
The irony that the two teams in the Super Bowl are from the only two states in the country to legalize medicinal and recreational use of marijuana is not lost on Charles Lynch.
"I just kind of laughed you know because I'm sitting here being prosecuted while the rest of the world is moving forward", Lynch told Central Coast News recently.
Lynch operated a medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay until it was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department back in 2007.
Lynch got a city business license to stay open but his landlord shut it down after being warned his property could be seized by the federal government if the dispensary stayed open.
"Morro Bay had an ordinance and they wanted one there", Lynch says, "Morro Bay was the only city that was going to allow a dispensary there."
Lynch was arrested and convicted in Federal Court on five counts involving his dispensary including selling marijuana to minors and was sentenced to a year and a day in Federal prison.
Lynch is appealing the conviction and sentence mainly under 1996 voter-approved California law that legalized medical marijuana dispensaries.
Lynch says his life has been turned upside down since his arrest and conviction saying he was forced to move to New Mexico to try and find a job.
"I couldn't find work there anymore", Lynch says, "nobody would hire me because my case is still pending you know."
Lynch says he's also losing his savings from years as a successful software engineer because he was arrested for selling marijuana.
"Probably one of the worst things that has happened to me", Lynch says, "not only can I not get a job, but they are closing my IRA accounts on me too.
"I protested, I wrote to the SEC and the FINRA saying, hey you know you guys just can't just cheat me out of the game here", Lynch says, "I can't even have a damn retirement, I can't have a job, I can't have nothing."
A documentary has been made about Lynch's ordeal called "Lynching Charlie Lynch" and is being sold on Amazon.com.
Lynch also has a multimedia website and has been interviewed on national television.
"Its unfairness, now I'm a felon, a five count felon all that kind of stuff so yeah I'm a little bitter", Lynch says, "there is hope and we are on the cusp of change and its going to change, they can't stop it now anymore I think."
Lynch says amid his bitterness he can still find humor in the irony of what some are calling the "bud bowl".
"I've always been a forward thinker, I try to think ahead of the curve", Lynch says, "this business venture, I might have been a little too far ahead in my thinking."