Saturday, 25 May 2024

Lepp reports to prison, supporters lobby for release

UPPER LAKE – A local marijuana advocate surrendered himself to authorities last week in order to begin serving a 10-year federal prison sentence.

Charles “Eddy” Lepp, 57, of Upper Lake turned himself in on July 6 to federal authorities in Lompoc, according to his wife, Linda Lepp.

In May Lepp was sentenced to two concurrent 10-year terms after having been convicted in September of 2008 of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and cultivation of more than 1,000 marijuana plants, as Lake County News has reported.

A federal jury convicted Lepp of growing 24,784 marijuana plants on his 20-acre property in Upper Lake.

Lepp, who was indicted in 2004, has maintained his innocence. He has been a proponent of legalizing marijuana and is a Rastafarian minister who has alleged that authorities have violated his freedom of religion and his ministry.

He was the first person in California to be acquitted in a prosecution under 1996's Compassion Use Act, Proposition 215, which allowed patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

Linda Lepp said an appellate lawyer has been assigned to her husband's case, and the attorney has estimated that it will take two months to go through the materials and filing an appeal will take another six months. The case could be in court in June of 2010, Linda Lepp said.

Eddy Lepp is being held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Lompoc, which is a low security facility housing male inmates, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Now Linda Lepp and her husband's supporters are starting a push to get the attention of President Barack Obama.

“We have already sent over 7,000 letters to the president,” she said, but there's some concern that the messages were faxed to the wrong number, so they're starting over.

They're also responding to thousands of e-mail messages sent to Eddy Lepp's e-mail and working on his MySpace page, , which Linda Lepp said has had 24,000 hits. They're also planning to post a Facebook page next week.

Linda Lepp said at some point in the future she'll be able to visit her husband. They married last September and then, in light of his conviction, Eddy Lepp had their marriage annulled. However, they remarried March 19.

She said she's received messages of support from all over the world. “It's pretty unreal, the support we're getting from well wishers.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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