It has been a long and sobering couple of weeks for the medical cannabis community, Justice has again failed and we see our brothers and sisters being put in prison for decades for providing safe and effective cannabis medicines to people authorized to use it from their physicians.
Let that sit with you. We are putting people in prison for DECADES for providing weed to sick people. Should I say it again? We have taken a human being and put him in a small cage with other dangerous criminals for ten plus years because he provided sick people with plant material that made them feel better. I do not know about you, but it makes my stomach turn really. It makes me sad to be an American, really.
This week Aaron Sandusky was convicted on two conspiracy charges and remanded to custody for a 10-year to life sentence for his role in operating a group of medical cannabis dispensing collectives in Southern California. In Michigan this week we say Gerald Duval Jr. and his son Jeremy Duval sentenced to ten years in prison for two medical cannabis greenhouse facilities that were being cultivated for patient use in accordance with state law there. In Montana late last month, Chris Williams was convicted of 8 felony counts for his role in Montana Cannabis, a legal provider of medical cannabis there. He also faces decades in prison for his “crimes.” And this is just in the past two weeks.
We have been quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, been sending medical cannabis cultivators, providers, and patients to prison for DECADES and ruining people’s lives for not just weed, but doctor authorized weed. It is an incredible injustice and we should be outraged. Often our community tries to read the tea leaves and say, “Well, this person was busted for this reason, and it will never happen to me.” That is bullshit, and you should know better. We are all in the same boat and face the same risks.
If I made my living providing medical cannabis I would begin to seriously looking at donating my resources towards ending cannabis prohibition, and fast. You could be the next person to face the injustice of doing the right thing and facing a jury that is not even allowed to take into consideration the medical aspects of your defense. In Federal court you have no defense. Did you grow weed? Yes. Go to prison for a decade. WTF? But that is where we are at. This is happening all over. What are you going to do about it?
The list is long of good people who are sitting in prison on mandatory minimum sentences and decades of time for providing weed to sick people. We are allowing our government to run rampant and take the lives of good people for weed. Bryan Epis (10 years), Eddy Lepp (10 years), Luke Scarmazzo (22 years), Richard Montes (20 years), Dustin DC Costa (16 years), Timothy Dellas (10 years), Doctor Mollie Fry and her husband attorney Dale Schafer (5 year mandatory for very few plants over years), and there are dozens of others doing 3, 5, 6, 7 years sentences also. It is alarming.
These are not the “bad operators.” These are not bad guys who just got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. These are all people who believed, like many of us, that if we do the right thing then justice would protect us. We are all very vulnerable to Federal enforcement. None of us are better than the others in the eyes of the US Justice Department. We are all a bunch of criminal weedheads to them. It is a sad reality that we all must take a hard look at.
Times are changing and there is a louder and more robust call for cannabis freedom every day. This is great; but it is not very comforting for the folks waking up away from their loved ones with nothing but time staring them in the face.
We have got to make a better effort. We have got to make more clear and focused campaigns aimed directly at the evils of imprisoning people for a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. We have got to begin to move mountains and free our brothers and sisters from the clutches of tyranny. We must get our shit together and take this fight to the heart of the beast, which is combatting the mass incarceration of our neighbors and citizens for weed. It has got to end and it has got to end now. It is no longer okay to sit idly by while good people lose their freedom and standing in the community because of weed.