Eddy Lepp Speaks

Soft Secrets
14 Aug 2011

Eddy Lepp owned and operated Eddy's Medicinal Gardens in Lake County, CA until his conviction and sentencing in 2008. His garden was operated in compliance with California State law, but in conflict with Federal law. Judge Marilyn Patel noted the ten-year mandatory minimum was excessive, but did not mitigate his sentence. Today, Eddy is housed at Lompoc Federal Prison Camp in California, awaiting appeal.

A Rastafari minister, Eddy's congregation was comprised of cancer patients, AIDS patients and other medical users seeking to grow their own medicinal Cannabis - and Rastafarian sacrament. He became involved with helping people connect with safe access to medical Cannabis after his father was diagnosed with cancer. The illness made eating difficult for his father, and smoking marijuana helped. "At his memorial his doctor told me I added several months to his life by having him smoke marijuana."

When asked about his first wife Linda, Eddy explains, "Either you never met her or you loved her. She was a healer and was able to help many people. She was one of the kindest souls I have ever met and just about all who knew her will testify to that. She was special. She was my 'Little Bitty Pretty One.'" Linda developed thyroid cancer, and again forced Eddy to watch a loved one suffer, highlighting the problems related to using only traditional cancer treatments.

When she developed cancer, he "made a promise to Jah (God) that in exchange for spiritual strength for his wife, he would devote the rest of [his] life to helping people and telling them about the Sacred Plant." Rev. Eddy contends that the religious use of Cannabis is nothing new: "It is the main ingredient in the holy anointing oil in the Bible. I have kept my word as Jah did for me." Sadly, Linda passed away shortly before Eddy was arrested.

There are eight million people without health insurance in California, and medical care charges more to private citizens than it does to insurance companies. Current prescription costs are beyond the financial grasp of many. According to Eddy, the legalized extortion of money that the insurance and pharmaceutical companies are allowed to enjoy in this country means they "are really no worse than the rest of Corporate America.

Big business is killing this country. It began with FDR and has resulted in the loss of our greatest asset: the great American farmer. If the big business and the banks aren't brought to heel soon, I fear for our future as a world power, and sadly as a nation." Arrested in California, Eddy inhabited the gray area between what states claim to be the rights of its citizens to seek non-pharmaceutical relief, versus the overseeing Federal government's more restrictive stance. "I broke no laws in the state of California. I am most definitely a political prisoner.

'Eddy's Medicinal Gardens and Multi-Denominational Chapel of Cannabis and Rastafari' was a dream, a belief that we could help ourselves and others without help or aid from the government, which we proved (in spite of where I am) that we could do." Irrigated by a drip system with overhead misters, and using natural and organic nutrients, 25 acres of land were held by the Church for use by the congregation. "We started in December with plants going into the ground. In March they were still being planted. We were still planting as late as May or June." The Church was "loved and well-received." The Church made charitable donations to the local poor, and offered a way for people to obtain medical Cannabis without paying black market prices or contributing to the cash flow of underworld smugglers.

Even while Eddy is serving out his sentence for similar activities, California cities, such as Oakland, discuss making provisions for large scale licensed indoor cultivation. Growing Cannabis indoors allows for increased security and seasonal flexibility, but artificial lighting is much more expensive than using natural sunlight. "From what I understand they are all indoors and that makes them cost prohibitive. Most dispensaries charge $15-$25 a gram for medical marijuana. Through the Church the cost was about a dollar a gram." Cannabis has been illegal in California for less than 100 years; the re-legalization movement seems to be making progress, and pressure from citizens to restore that freedom to the citizenry is mounting. In a democracy, the will of the majority of the population should determine the direction of government.

As the number of states where democratically-passed legislation allowing some local use of marijuana rises, at some point the Federal government should accept the will of the citizens. "I believe they have already lost the fight but, as a rattlesnake with a broken back, they are still striking out at everyone in their death throes... it is only a matter of time." Time goes slowly for imprisoned Eddy. "Life in prison is very boring. There is little to do and less to care about. I [play] Bocci, read, write. The guys I am in here with, many of them are wonderful people and we would all be better off with many of them home with their families, helping."

Eddy eventually remarried, after the loss of his first wife, to a woman whom he says "is the love of my life, my friend, my partner, my strength. She goes to many events and never tires of telling the world of our FIGHT FOR JUSTICE." There are six-and-a-half more years remaining in Eddy's sentence, and an appeal is in process.

Eddy advises to get the most out of Cannabis: "Go slow and enjoy the benefits, especially the closer relationships you will have with the 'most high' as you understand it. I am never closer to Jah as when I use the Sacred Herb. If you believe in something, follow your dreams. If you try and work hard enough they will all come TRUE." To learn more about Eddy's case and those of other Green Prisoners, visit www.Green-Aid.com. Peace, love and puka shells, Grubbycup

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