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US Court Records Show Nearly 500 Years in Prison Time for Medical Marijuana Offenses

Posted by on Jun. 14, 2013 at 12:44 PM
  • 9 Replies


June 13 - In spite of growing public support for medical marijuana, concern about overreach by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, and cutbacks in federal spending, the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana is raging unabated according to a survey of court records by Cal NORML.

On Tuesday, Michigan medical marijuana grower Jerry Duval, a kidney and pancreas transplant patient with severe medical problems, began serving a ten-year sentence in the same prison as the Boston bomber. Duval joins a growing list of defendants in states that allow medical marijuana who have been charged by the Department of Justice for violating federal laws prohibiting medical marijuana.

According to a survey of US court records, news stories, and case reports compiled by Cal NORML (with help from Americans for Safe Access):

• Over 335 defendants have been charged with federal crimes related to medical marijuana in states with medical marijuana laws.
• 158 defendants have received prison sentences totaling over 480 years for medical marijuana offenses. Some 50 are currently in federal prison, while more are waiting to be sentenced or surrender.
• Over 90% of the criminal cases settled to date have resulted in convictions. 10% have been dismissed. A single defendant has been acquitted. Federal law typically prohibits defendants from invoking medical marijuana in their defense.
• 153 medical marijuana cases have been brought in the 4 ¼ years of the Obama administration, nearly as many as under the 8 years of the Bush administration (163).
• Not a single pardon or clemency petition has been granted to a medical marijuana defendant by President Obama or his predecessors.
• One seriously ill defendant, Richard Flor, has died while in federal prison, and two others, Peter McWilliams and Steve McWilliams (no relation) died while being denied access to medical marijuana on bail. Other seriously ill patients who have who have been sentenced to lengthy terms include Dale Schafer, a hemophiliac currently serving 5 years along with his wife Mollie Fry, a cancer patient (pictured above); Vernon Rylee, who served nearly 5 years in a wheelchair (pictured right), and Jerry Duval.
• At least 259 defendants have been charged in California; over 31 in Montana; 6 in Oregon; 15 in Nevada; 12 in Michigan; 2 in Colorado; and 10 in Washington.

See more details on federal defendants

California NORML’s survey does not include hundreds of DEA raids, forfeiture complaints, IRS investigations, and letters threatening civil and criminal charges to dispensary landlords. A new economic report by Americans for Safe Access estimates the total cost of these operations at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Testifying to the House Judiciary Committee last July, US Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that the Department of Justice was targeting only those medical marijuana businesses that were "acting out of conformity…with state law."
 In fact, the DOJ has targeted many facilities that were in full compliance with local laws and regulations. Targets have included leading collectives in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, Mendocino, and elsewhere that have actively cooperated with local governments and paid millions of dollars in taxes. DOJ officials have ignored the protests of local officials, arguing that “state laws are not relevant to federal narcotics laws.”

A host of other federal agencies are implicated in the government’s war on medical marijuana.

• IRS auditors have hit the industry using unfair tax rules that deny routine business deductions.
• Invoking Department of Treasury regulations, the government has coerced banks and financial institutions into denying banking and financial services to the medical marijuana industry.
• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has ruled it illegal for medical marijuana patients to buy guns, even while funneling automatic weapons to Mexican drug gangs in its botched “Fast and Furious” operation.
• The DOJ, DHHS and DEA have rejected a petition to legally reschedule marijuana for medical use, ignoring scores of scientific studies demonstrating its value. The DEA has speciously objected that there are no large-scale FDA studies of marijuana’s efficacy, even while making such studies impossible by deliberately blocking approval of the facilities necessary to conduct them.
• The National Institute on Drug Abuse has obstructed medical research by refusing to let its marijuana be used for an FDA-approved study of marijuana to treat PTSD.
• While decrying a national epidemic of fatalities from legal prescription narcotics, ONDCP bureaucrats have ignored growing scientific evidence that medical marijuana can provide many patients with safe and effective pain relief, cutting down on their use of more dangerous and costly prescription narcotics.

“The federal war on medical marijuana exemplifies government dysfunction at its worst, “ says California NORML director Dale Gieringer, “If the government wanted to encourage safer and more affordable health care it would encourage medical marijuana. Instead, it has chosen to prosecute and criminalize the industry, stimulating crime and lawlessness in the same manner as prohibition, wasting taxpayers’ money, and impeding Americans’ access to safe and affordable medicine. If the federal government can’t get medical marijuana straight, how can Americans trust it to manage their health care?”


LINK

First, Thanks for nothing Obama...more change I can't believe in. Second, why are we wasting resources, time and money, in states that voted for medical? Third, I know the answer but why is our Fed govt so set on ignoring the facts about this plant?

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

by on Jun. 14, 2013 at 12:44 PM
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Replies (1-9):
survivorinohio
by René on Jun. 14, 2013 at 1:04 PM

:( I dont have any answers.

MeAndTommyLee
by Platinum Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Casey Anthony is a free woman and medicinal MJ users are on the block?  What's wrong here. 

meriana
by Platinum Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Here they should have stuck with medical MJ with strict regulation and control. As it is, they went for recreational use as well. So they regulations haven't even been set yet and already users are pushing the envelope. One bar owner in Tacoma has set up the upstairs portion of his bar as a mj place where people can go and use hookas, etc. (I'm sure there are others but this guy made the news). So one cannot smoke in bars, restaurants, etc. in this state but mj users think they should be able to set up mj areas in them. Oh yeah, they aren't "smoking", they're "vaporizing" so it should be ok. Then there's a new thing where they feel they should be able to have mj cafes claiming they'll bring tourists. (sorry I really prefer we don't beome known as the Amsterdam of the west) Don't know where that should be allowed and I can't see it being allowed since smoking cafes arent' allowed, although I'm sure we haven't heard the last of that idea.  It's rediculous. No matter what regulations are set, they're going to be unhappy.  

stormcris
by Christy on Jun. 14, 2013 at 2:48 PM
1 mom liked this

I am sick and fed up with this blasted war on drugs.

They need to stop telling people what they can and cannot put in their bodies and reduce the freaking overcrowding in prisons. Yes I know that is effects topical for the rabid debates on here. However, the fact is I would rather see a drug charge get out than rapist.

As a libertarian I may not agree with all drug use but I do not feel it is the federal governments place to prosecute what a person does to or with their own self. I am tired of our government being in business like a corporation and still expecting the people to foot so much of the bill because that money does go on the books.

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Jun. 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting survivorinohio:

:( I dont have any answers.

The only answer I have is this, keep posting and educating people on the BS drug war. Someone learns something once in awhile.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Jun. 14, 2013 at 6:20 PM


Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Casey Anthony is a free woman and medicinal MJ users are on the block?  What's wrong here. 

Our lovely govt and it's priorities. Medical mj patients might be selling to terrorists, or something stupid. The Feds need to leave it alone and let states deal with regulation and and issues.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Jun. 14, 2013 at 6:22 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting stormcris:

I am sick and fed up with this blasted war on drugs.

They need to stop telling people what they can and cannot put in their bodies and reduce the freaking overcrowding in prisons. Yes I know that is effects topical for the rabid debates on here. However, the fact is I would rather see a drug charge get out than rapist.

As a libertarian I may not agree with all drug use but I do not feel it is the federal governments place to prosecute what a person does to or with their own self. I am tired of our government being in business like a corporation and still expecting the people to foot so much of the bill because that money does go on the books.

I lean Libertarian and agree completely. I've done a lot of reading and research on this issue in the last 15 years. Prohibition of any kind is failed and expensive policy, we need to be smarter about this.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

morrigan914
by Bronze Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 6:22 PM
Yet child molesters get a slap on the wrist.
Friday
by HRH of MJ on Jun. 14, 2013 at 6:29 PM


Quoting morrigan914:

Yet child molesters get a slap on the wrist.

Them maryjawanna addicts are dangerous.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

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