Gabor Degre | BDN

The owner of a head shop and hookah lounge pleaded not guilty to federal drug and other charges during a Tuesday court appearance in Bangor.

Christopher Ruhlin, 48, of Holden, owner of Herbal Tea Tobacco, located in Bangor at 44 Main St., is accused of growing and selling marijuana and covering up how much money he made.

His lawyer, Jeffrey Silverstein, of Bangor, said his client is caught in the middle of a conflict between Maine’s liberal marijuana laws and the more stringent federal government.

“It’s clear that this is shaking out to be a feds versus small guy, federal versus state conflict,” Ruhlin’s attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, said at an impromptu press conference outside the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building after the arraignment.

But even under Maine law , the number of marijuana plants that Ruhlin and his co-defendent, Terrence Sawtelle, allegedly grew would be illegal.

Maine’s recreational pot law allows people to possess 2.5 ounces of processed marijuana or six flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings, and possess all the marijuana produced by the plants. Rules about the retail sale of marijuana still are being written.

Ruhlin was released on $5,000 unsecured bail and ordered not to use his legally prescribed medical marijuana as part of his bail conditions. He also must submit to drug and

Article source: