Bernie Ellis, the public-health official who was busted for growing pot for the sick and dying and became a folk hero of the medical marijuana movement as a result, is free at last.
A federal judge this week agreed to end Ellis' four-year probation two years early. That means Ellis no longer has to pee on demand into a cup or report monthly to a probation officer. He no longer has to ask permission to leave Middle Tennessee, and he can apply to have his voting rights reinstated.
"I am (once again) a free man," Ellis announced in an email to his many friends and supporters. "I could not be happier than I am at this moment...."
Ellis, who also spent 18 months in a Nashville halfway house, could still lose his Middle Tennessee farm to the federal government. Prosecutors had been trying to seize the 187-acre property as a drug-case forfeiture, but they've taken no action since a spate of publicity
over Ellis' plight.
Has the government finally realized the injustice of taking away someone's home for the heinous crime of trying to ease the pain and suffering of his neighbors? What am I thinking? That's a stupid question. Most likely the feds are leaving Ellis alone to avoid more publicity that makes them look really mean and idiotic.