MMA referee Josh Rosenthal is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to Federal drug charges including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute. Rosenthal is due in court this May and is facing over three years in prision.
Rosenthal’s legal issues stem from a Federal drug raid on a warehouse owned by the referee. Federal agents found 1,356 marijuana plants in the warehouse, with the street value being estimated at over $6 million.
The government has requested a 37-month jail term, 5 years probation, and random searches for the referee. The plea agreement allows Rosenthal to avoid over $10 million in fines and a possible 10-years to life sentence.
While medical marijuana is legal in California, distributors are still subject to arrest without various permits and approval from the state. It also must be remembered that Federal law also supersedes state law on marijuana. While the Department of Justice has relaxed on prosecuting licensed growers in states that have passed marijuana legislation, Rosenthal’s operation was apparently unlicensed and also conspired to cross state lines.
The high-profile referee has long been one of the more respected refs in the fight business and has been praised by UFC president Dana White for his handling of bouts in the past.
Information from MMAJunkie was used in this article.