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10 Years in Prison for Legally Growing Medical Pot? The Feds' Insane Assault on Perfectly Legal Activity

The DOJ is aggressively pursuing medical marijuana cases in direct contravention of earlier pronouncements on the issue.

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When the DOJ goes before Congress seeking increased funding, they are fond of citing year over year increases in prosecutions and convictions. Few lawmakers, if any, delve into the quality of those prosecutions. For statistical purposes, medical marijuana convictions serve the US attorneys as well as do convictions for serious, major crimes. The same is true for the resumes of individual prosecutors.  Racking-up convictions and lengthy sentences is what is required for federal prosecutors to put themselves on the fast track for advancement up the judicial corporate ladder. The hallmark of their sociopathy is the inability to recognize that their careers are being furthered on the bodies of others.

The current assault on medical marijuana providers extends far beyond the case of Gerald and Jeremy Duval. On September, 27, a federal jury in Helena, Montana convicted Chris Williams of eight charges including conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute marijuana. Williams was originally charged in 2011 when federal agents from the DEA raided the Montana Cannabis’ Helena greenhouse which was operating lawfully under Montana state law. It was the largest of 26 medical marijuana businesses raided in one day across the state of Montana. As with the Duvals, Williams was precluded from arguing that he was fully compliant with state law. His judge, USDJ Dana Christensen, agreed with federal prosecutors who said that state law is irrelevant in matters involving the federal Controlled Substances Act. 

Williams was taken into custody immediately after the verdict was announced. He faces decades in prison under federal mandatory minimum sentencing and a maximum sentence which could be life in prison without the possibility of parole. “It’s a tragedy,” said Chris Lindsey, president of the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA) and former partner of Williams. “Federal law needs to change and respect the wishes of the citizens, who overwhelmingly favor the availability of medical marijuana for those in need. Federal law makes no allowance for it, and Mr. Williams will pay a heavy price for the government’s refusal to bend to the will of voters in Montana and around the country.” 

Lindsey went on to cite how the jury was prohibited from hearing that Williams’ acts were in compliance with state law. “It is sad that Chris was tried for what he did and for what he believed in, but he couldn’t actually talk about what happened with the jury,” said Lindsey. “They didn’t get the whole story because of the way criminal trials are run. Chris and his attorney did the best they could to get their story in front of the jury, but the system doesn’t allow it.” 

Lindsey went on to cite the issue of compliance with state law. “I think it’s a tragedy, I mean it was something that we were trying to comply with state law, thought we were, but the federal government of course has not changed its position on marijuana and they don’t really care that it’s medical marijuana. How do we deal with the fact that most Americans believe that medical marijuana should have its role and how do we reconcile that with the fact that the federal government absolutely refuses to acknowledge publicly that marijuana has any role?”  

Also commenting on the Williams verdict was Montana First, an organization devoted to bringing “sanity” to Montana’s marijuana laws. Spokesperson Bob Brighton reacted to the verdict by saying, “One thing is crystal clear, our nation’s failed so-called War on Drugs must end, particularly where medical marijuana is concerned in states whose voters and legislators have endorsed it.”  

From the perspective of federal prosecutors, however, the War on Drugs is anything but a failure. Rather, it is the gift that keeps on giving. It provides justification for their ongoing aggression and offers a virtually limitless pool of targets for prosecution. Compliant media enablers, who often serve as mere stenographers instead of reporters, can be counted upon to disseminate government press releases thinly disguised as news items. Truly objective accounts of this ongoing war, which is in all actuality a war against the people, are largely absent. The success of this disinformation campaign is evidenced by President Obama’s reticence to reel in his Justice Department during this campaign season.