Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)
Copyright: 1998 Contra Costa (California) Newspapers Inc.
Pubdate: 11 Dec 1998


LAKEPORT ---- A Vietnam War veteran who said he suffered from a host of
medical problems has been found innocent of growing marijuana for sale.

A jury on Thursday acquitted Charles Lepp, 46, who was accused of growing
131 marijuana plants in his yard.

Lepp testified that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder,
chronic back pain, skin cancer, degenerative arthritis and manic depression.

He said a doctor had authorized him to use marijuana to ease his pain.
Prosecutors contended the marijuana that could be harvested from the 3-foot
to 4-foot high plants far outstripped his needs. Lepp told investigators
that he planned to give anything he didn't need to a friend.

Deputy District Attorney Fred Raper also argued that Lepp did not have a
doctor's authorization.

Lepp's was the first medical marijuana case taken to trial in either Lake
or Mendocino County since the 1996 approval of Proposition 215, which
sought to legalize cultivation and use of marijuana to treat medical ailments.

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Checked-by: Pat Dolan