The Obama Administration has been relatively silent on the issue of marijuana since election day – except for some brief comments about CO & WA from the President himself – but, as usual, actions speak much louder than words.

420timesmarijuana_close_smallThe Obama Administration has been sending state legal medical marijuana patients and providers to prison at a rate that would have made the religious conservatives in the Bush Administration blush. Details on the extent of the carnage comes to us from Americans for Safe Access.

Washington, DC – Fallout from the Obama Administration’s aggressive federal enforcement in medical marijuana states has reached a fever pitch this month with three people being sentenced, two others due to surrender to federal authorities to serve out sentences of up to five years in prison, and one federal trial in Montana currently scheduled for January 14th. Two of the three people being sentenced in the coming month — Montana cultivator Chris Williams and Los Angeles-area dispensary operator Aaron Sandusky — face five and ten years to life, respectively.

“The number of sick patients being locked up by the Obama Administration is unprecedented and deplorable,” said Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access, the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy organization. “Aggressive enforcement is an unacceptable means of addressing medical marijuana as a public health issue,” continued Hermes. “The Obama Administration is lying to the American people when it says it’s not targeting individual patients and these cases are clear evidence of that.” Montana patient cultivator Richard Flor died in August while serving out a 5-year prison sentence.

Five cultivators claiming to be in compliance with Michigan’s medical marijuana law were sentenced in October. Two of the cultivators — Jaycob Montague and Jeremy Duval — are already serving their prison terms of 18 months and 5 years, respectively, and two others — John Marcinkewciz and Shelley Waldron — are scheduled to surrender to federal authorities on January 8th and 10th, respectively. Waldron will be imprisoned for 18 months and Marcinkewciz for 5 years. The fifth cultivator, Jerry Duval (Jeremy’s father), was sentenced to 10 years, but has not yet been given a surrender date.

More than a dozen people were indicted after federal agents conducted raids on state compliant medical marijuana businesses throughout Montana in March 2011. Only one, Chris Williams, went to trial and, like all other medical marijuana defendants who are tried in federal court, was denied a defense and swiftly convicted. While facing more than 80 years of mandatory minimum sentencing, Williams accepted a rare post-conviction plea deal that reduced his charges and possible sentence to 5 years to life in exchange for his promise not to appeal his conviction. Williams, who is scheduled to be sentenced on February 1st, worked at Montana Cannabis with Chris Lindsey, another indicted cultivator. Lindsey, who testified against Williams at his trial, is expected to be sentenced today. Medical marijuana cultivator Jason Washington has one of the last unresolved federal cases in Montana. Washington is currently scheduled to go to trial on January 14th.

Aaron Sandusky operated G3 Holistic in Upland, California when he was federally indicted in June. Though Sandusky was arrested with several others, he was the only one who took his case to trial. In October, Sandusky was denied a defense in federal court and convicted at trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7th to a minimum of 10 years to life.

Far surpassing his predecessor George W. Bush, President Obama has conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids on state-compliant medical marijuana businesses and has indicted more than 80 people since he took office. “How many medical marijuana patients is President Obama going to imprison before he considers other, more humane options,” said Hermes. “The president must answer for why he’s going against his earlier pledges by spending Justice Department funds in this way, especially at a time of fiscal crisis.”

Is this the end of the crackdown, or just another phase in the continuing destruction of the medical marijuana industry? Time will tell, but if this is the end, it don’t didn’t come soon enough for many who now face years in prison for helping sick people.

Joe Klare

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About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

8 Responses

  1. TheWorldsMostFascinatingMan

    Obama is and has always been a hypocrite politician, a liar, a spendthrift, and now we have him for four more years, hope all you Demoncratic voters are happy with the results.

    • Reality check

      I am happy with Obama and i am a medical marijuana patient these “patients” that are in trouble are actually commercial growers in it for the money. They should have kept it low key but instead they let greed take over and now karma is paying them back

      • TheWorldsMostFascinatingMan

        That is bullshit !!! Do you call Harborside in Oakland a big grower? It complied with all laws, how about all the med centers from San Diego to the Oregon border? You obviously are a stooge for the feds. Go away stooge we don’t like your kind of Judas in our midsts.

      • Reality check

        Typical reaction from an ignorant person read the mmj law and you will see harborside got too big the law intended for small coops not huge money makers and i hate and distrust the government more than most I just don’t like people that distort the truth

      • TheWorldsMostFascinatingMan

        Typical comment from a snitch for the man. Give it up dude your covers have been pulled.

      • Reality check

        Your just proving my point that you don’t know the facts of the law thank you

      • TheWorldsMostFascinatingMan

        I know a weasel when I smell one, and you stink.

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