A number of state-complaint medical marijuana providers are facing federal prison time as the Obama Administration cracks down on medical cannabis with a never-before-seen ferocity. The story of Chris Williams is well-known to our readers, and there are several others who were following state law and now face the spectre of incarceration.
“The number of sick patients being locked up by the Obama Administration is unprecedented and deplorable,” said Kris Hermes, spokesperson for the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. “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.”
Five cultivators who say they are in compliance with Michigan’s medical marijuana law were sentenced in October. Jaycob Montague and Jeremy Duval are now serving their prison terms of 18 months and 5 years, respectively, and two others — John Marcinkewciz and Shelley Waldron — are supposed to surrender to federal authorities later this month. 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 there’s more. Aaron Sandusky was the operator of G3 Holistic in Upland, California when he was indicted by the feds 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.
President Obama’s Administration 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, far more than the numbers racked up under the previous administration. “How many medical marijuana patients is President Obama going to imprison before he considers other, more humane options?” Hermes asked. “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.”
It’s inconceivable that among all the talk about the “fiscal cliff,” federal resources are still being sent to lock up people following state law. Not only were they following state law, but they were helping sick people as well. Shouldn’t cutbacks be made where possible? Wasting money to destroy medical marijuana providers seems obscene at this point.
For an administration that touts health care as one of its crowing achievements, they are being very aggressive when going after those who practice the art of healing.
The entire medical marijuana crackdown was an odd road for the Obama Administration to go down, and the journey continues. Spending money to punish health while our federal government fumbles its most basic duties.
- Joe Klare