SAN FRANCISCO — A federal grand jury has again indicted the self-proclaimed “Guru of Ganja” on charges that he grew hundreds of marijuana plants for a dispensary.
Ed Rosenthal was convicted in 2003 for cultivating the plants for a city of Oakland medical marijuana program. An appeals court overturned the conviction in April, citing jury misconduct, but it upheld federal powers to charge marijuana growers.
An indictment unsealed Thursday charges Rosenthal with 14 felonies, including conspiracy to manufacture marijuana at his Oakland warehouse and distribute it to a San Francisco pot club.
He also faces four counts of money laundering and five counts of filing false tax returns related to the marijuana operation.
Also named in the indictment were Kenneth Hayes and Richard Watts. All three men were charged in 2002. Hayes remains a fugitive, and Watts was too ill to stand trial then, Rosenthal said.
The three were scheduled to be arraigned Monday.
Rosenthal, 61, who has written books on how to grow marijuana and avoid getting caught, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the indictment was part of the federal government’s campaign to shut down dispensaries aimed at helping patients who need medical marijuana.
“What they’re trying to show is that they can close down anybody, a legitimate club, a legitimate provider who’s sanctioned by the city,” he said, referring to his official status as an agent in Oakland’s medical marijuana program. “They’re trying to stop patients from getting their medicine.”
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