Medical Marijuana Grower Chris Williams Faces 80 Years in Prison

Dec 8, 2004
49,445
21,269
693
Maine
#1
On September 27th, Chris Williams, co-founder of Montana Cannabis, was found guilty on eight counts of marijuana and related firearms charges, despite his state's medical marijuana law. These charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of more than 80 years in prison -- and expose the grave human consequences resulting from the existing disparity between federal and state laws pertaining to the medical use of marijuana.

I started filming Chris and his business partners during the last Montana state legislative session, as part of my feature-length documentary Code of the West. They seemed determined to create a model for a responsible medical marijuana caregiving operation, and routinely offered growhouse tours to law enforcement officials, politicians and community leaders, any number of which accepted this invitation.

Chris Williams had reason to believe his risk of federal prosecution was minimal, following the release of a 2009 memo by the Justice Department stating that the federal government should not focus federal resources on medical marijuana growers and patients who complied with their own state laws. But in March 2011, federal agents raided Chris' growhouse during a statewide crackdown across Montana.
In spite of a 2004 voter referendum legalizing medical marijuana in Montana, supported by 62 percent of the voters, states like Montana can't stop the federal government from enforcing its own drug laws. The Controlled Substances Act considers marijuana as a schedule I narcotic (along with heroin), which de-legitimates its medical use.

At his trial, Williams was prevented from invoking his compliance with state law as a defense against the federal charges. As a result, the jury heard a partial, and profoundly distorted version of Chris' story -- and on this basis convicted him on eight counts, which carry a mandatory minimum of more than 80 years in prison.

Chris Williams' story is now the focus of a newly released New York Times Op-Docs video, which functions as a sort of epilogue to Code of the West. It is a both a cautionary tale and a call to action to address these legal inconsistencies.

In the wake of Tuesday's votes to legalize adult use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington and medical marijuana in Massachusetts, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how federal authorities will treat patients, consumers, and growers complying with state marijuana laws.

As people like Chris Williams fall through the widening cracks between state and federal law, it's time we reform federal law to be consistent with the states, lifting cloud of uncertainty that puts law abiding citizens at risk.
Link
 

Cunt Smasher

Caligula Jr.
Aug 26, 2005
13,581
4,141
628
#2
What a disgrace. Bet the federales are all smug and satisfied they arrested an evildoer on the same level as Chapo Guzman.
 

KRSOne

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
13,127
3,031
258
Sunnydale
#3
And libs wonder why states want to secede. Obama doesn't give a care about states rights.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#4
I still think now that Obama's in his second term, he'll throw his leftie base a bone and doing something different with medical marijuana.
 

KRSOne

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
13,127
3,031
258
Sunnydale
#6
I still think now that Obama's in his second term, he'll throw his leftie base a bone and doing something different with medical marijuana.
Why would he even think of doing that? Obama raided 2 times as many dispensaries as Bush did in 8 years and it didn't stop Obama's voters from worshiping him.
 

DanaReevesLungs

I can keep rhythm with no metronome...
Donator
Jun 9, 2005
9,134
2,537
681
Louisiana
#7
The same assholes that want the government involved in every other facet of their lives want them to all of a sudden stop making arrests for a Schedule 1 narcotic. Good luck fuck-os! I hope he fucking storms in on every dispensary in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California.
 
Dec 8, 2004
49,445
21,269
693
Maine
#8
Tried to find out what firearms he had in his possession etc... came across this little tid bit...

The fate of Montana Cannabis Industry Association cofounder Chris Williams is a shocking example. Williams, who lives in Montana, a medical pot state, was convicted of eight counts of marijuana and firearms charges this September. Facing 80 years in mandatory minimums, Williams was forbidden from testifying that he was complying with state medical marijuana law. Like many other medical marijuana prisoners, jurors never heard his side of the story. He was cast as a dangerous drug dealer, instead of the medical pot distributor the people had voted for. Also like others, Williams was held accountable not only for his own crimes, but for those of his business associates and codefendants. The guns discovered may not have been his, but because he was had access to them, it didn’t matter whether he actually owned or used them. Interestingly, it is the gun charge, not the weed, that Williams’ attorney, Michael Donahoe, considers evidence of a witch hunt. Donahoe has said that federal prosecutors often charge medical marijuana defendants with gun crimes, but not because they plan to prosecute them. Instead, says Donahoe, prosecutors are adding charges to threaten defendants with a lengthy prison term that would encourage defendants to accept a plea bargain.

“We know this for two reasons,” Donahoe told the Missoulan. “First, because the government readily agreed to dismiss the firearms counts for virtually every other medical marijuana defendant in those cases where firearms violations had been charged. And second, because insofar as [Williams’] ‘conspiracy’ is concerned, every other defendant had no real choice but to plead guilty in exchange for the firearms charges being dropped.”

He added, “Given the government’s conduct here, that was a false choice inspired by an abusive exercise of government power, considering that it was the government’s reckless decision to change its medical marijuana policy that was the first cause of all these problems.”

Williams' case is evidence that Donahoe may be right. While one gun charge carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, the other three carry a mandatory minimum of 25 years, and each must be served consecutively. The charges were so outlandish that they prompted a rare peace offering from a prosecutor. This September, US Attorney Michael Cotter offered to drop four of Williams’ charges and knock his sentence down to “as little as 10 years,” if Williams agreed to waive his right to appeal. Williams refused, vowing to fight for justice instead. “I have decided to fight the federal government, because for me not defending the things that I know are right is dishonorable,” Williams wrote to the Independent Record. "Every citizen has a responsibility to fight for what is right, even if it seems like the struggle will be lost.”
Link/Rest of the Article...
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#9
How's the weather in fantasy world? It's chilly here in the real one.
Actually, it's a bit chilly out here too. I ALMOST went with a long sleeved shirt today when I was getting dressed for work. Looks like next week will be more like our awesome California weather though. But thanks for asking.

 

fletcher

Darkness always says hello.
Donator
Feb 20, 2006
59,523
19,737
513
jersey
#10
What kind of lame weather app lists low temps before the high temps? Thats kind of strange.
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
36,555
22,220
398
Northern California
#12
Actually, it's a bit chilly out here too. I ALMOST went with a long sleeved shirt today when I was getting dressed for work. Looks like next week will be more like our awesome California weather though. But thanks for asking.

Not all California weather is awesome...

 

fletcher

Darkness always says hello.
Donator
Feb 20, 2006
59,523
19,737
513
jersey
#14
Much better. My OCD is satiated.
 

Lord Zero

Viciously Silly
Aug 25, 2008
54,246
12,977
438
Atlanta, GA
#17
I still think now that Obama's in his second term, he'll throw his leftie base a bone and doing something different with medical marijuana.
I don't think so. Maybe if he had merely maintained the status quo on drug policy instead of turning up the heat on state-sanctioned marijuana dispensaries. As it stands now, he's committed too hard (if I can steal a Joe DeRosa line) to just turn back.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#19
I don't think so. Maybe if he had merely maintained the status quo on drug policy instead of turning up the heat on state-sanctioned marijuana dispensaries. As it stands now, he's committed too hard (if I can steal a Joe DeRosa line) to just turn back.
Maybe. But with all the other DOJ distractions going on the last couple of years maybe they had to look "tough" on the drug war before the election to maintain some credibility in some people's eyes. Now that he doesn't have to worry about the right crying "he wants all your childrens high on the wacky weed" he might be able to have a more liberal stance on this. Especially now that he can pin it on the "mandates" in CO and WA. I can hear him now..."Now that the citizens of Washington and Colorado have spoken, I think our position on marijuana being a schedule one drug has evolved into something a little more different..."
 

Neckbeard

I'm Team Piggy!
Donator
Oct 26, 2011
24,929
15,342
303
#20
Bullshit. You blame Obama having several times more federal raids in 4 years than Bush did on "the right."

Everything is "the right" isn't it? Trump up gun charges on a state legal guy to throw him in jail for life and then your reaction is to go "the right!"