Federal Medical Marijuana Prisoners and Cases
LAST UPDATED: 5/3/2013
Current California Defendants and Prisoners:
* = currently incarcerated
- May 2, 2013 - US Drug Nannies Send More Dispensary Landlord Letters
US Attorney Melinda Haag has issued a spate of new landlord letters targeting medical cannabis dispensaries in Northern California.
In addition, The DEA sent cease-and-desist letters to 11 medical-marijuana dispensaries in Seattle. "Despite the sequester, Newtown, and the Boston bombing, the Obama administration still insists in meddling in medical marijuana issues that properly belong to local authorities," said Dale Gieringer of California NORML.
- On April 18, 2013, federal prosecutors moved against 63 dispensaries in Santa Ana. Prosecutors filed three asset forfeiture lawsuits against properties where seven dispensaries are operating and raided two of the stores involved.
Forfeiture actions were brought against:
• GLC (or the Green Love Collective and The Dispensary Store, which are operating in a building at 1638 East 17th Street, a property owned by chiropractor Mark Burcaw, and previously have been the subject of administrative citations issued by the city;
• SoCal Compassion, Club Meds and Well Greenz, at 1651 East Edinger, another building owned by Burcaw; and
• J Pacific Life and Healing OC, 1665 East 4th Street, where the raids took place.
Also, prosecutors send threatening letters to people associated with 56 other dispensaries. That is every known dispensary in the city. The Santa Ana Police and Santa Ana City Attorney's Office cooperated with the feds.
On April 23, the DEA and a local drug task force raided the last dispensary in San Diego and nine associated grow sites. Raided was the One on One Patients Association, whose director, Ken Cole, had testified the previous night at the city council's hearing on the mayor's proposed dispensary ordinance. No arrests were made, but marijuana and other items were seized. Cole is also the director of the area dispensary industry group, the United Patients Alliance. Source.
- March 28, 2013 - John Lester Gross III pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises in federal court. According to court documents, Gross helped organize and maintain a marijuana dispensary on P Street in Sacramento. The dispensary was supplied with marijuana grown on Gross's property in Rough and Ready, which is near Grass Valley. On the property, officers found more than 2,800 marijuana plants and approximately 100 pounds of processed marijuana.
Gross is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. on June 27, 2013. Gross faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
- January 13, 2013 - Matthew R. Davies, 34, of Stockton is being offered a plea deal with a five year mandatory minimum sentence. According to the New York Times, federal agents raided two of Mr. Davies’s dispensaries and a warehouse, where 2,000 marijuana plants were grown, in 2011. The federal authorities said they stumbled across the operation after two men were spotted apparently breaking into Mr. Davies’s 30,000-square-foot Stockton warehouse. The police said they smelled marijuana plants. Federal agents conducted a raid and confiscated 1,962 plants and 200 pounds of marijuana.
Lynn Farrell Smith, 62, of Stockton pleaded guilty in a Sacramento federal court to manufacturing and distribution charges that can send him to federal prison for five years. He was a partner in the venture that included a Stockton marijuana cultivation warehouse and seven dispensaries, including four in Sacramento.
- January 9, 2013 - Former South Lake Tahoe medical marijuana dispensary operator Gino DiMatteo pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, as part of a plea agreement. On August 31, 2012, US agents say they found 5 pounds of processed marijuana and 15 pounds of “shake,” at DeMatteo's home. Also found were various edible marijuana products, a scale, pay/owe sheets and a heat sealing machine. DiMatteo listed himself as receiving $7,000 biweekly in one of the documents found. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on April 17. The maximum penalty for possession with the intent to distribute marijuana is 30 years in prison. Source.
- On May 19, 2011 Patricia Albright and her 26-year-old son Jordan Wirtz of Nevada City were indicted by the federal government for growing 89 plants for 10 patients on Albright's property, which is now the object of a forfeiture action. Albright is facing 20 years and Jordan 15 years, because the government is trying to accumulate the number of plants grown over more than one year for sentencing (as they did with Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer).
Albright's oldest son Trevor was diagnosed at age 15 months with bi-lateral retinoblastoma (eye cancer). After losing both of his eyes, he developed bone cancer at the age of 8. Medical marijuana, recommended by his doctor, was a great relief in the days before he died. Diagnosed with anxiety, depression and hypervigilance, Albright has a recommendation for medical marijuana, as does Jordan, who has had a dozen broken bones, with steel pins put in his humerus to hold his arm together.
On September 8, 2010, an undercover El Dorado Deputy Sheriff named Ben Davidson showed up at the property where the collective was growing. According to Albright, he denied he was a policeman and demanded that Jordan and his friend, Jacob Donahue, give him and his cohort a percentage of the crop or “something bad will happen to you.” Noticing Donahue's Colorado license plate lead to charges against Donahue for mailing marijuana to Colorado, and pressuring him to testify against Albright and Wirtz. On September 28, 2010, Nevada County and El Dorado Sheriff’s Deputies, along with many DEA, Treasury and IRS agents, descended upon the collective grow.
The case has been continued until July 30, 2013. Read more.
- December 11, 2012 - Bryan Smith, 28, of Elk Grove, pleaded guilty to federal drug charges stemming from owning and operating the R & R Wellness marijuana dispensary formerly located at 75 Quita Court in Sacramento and growing marijuana related to the dispensary operation.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, Smith agreed to a sentence of not less than 5 years in prison and not more than 7 years and 3 months in prison. His sentencing date is scheduled for Jan. 25.
Smith is the last defendant to plead guilty in the case. Co-defendants Daniel Goldsmith, 27, Galt- Elk Grove; Robert Klaus, 36, San Diego; Ryder Phillips, 27, Galt; Kelly Smith, 55, Elk Grove and Bruce Goldsmith, 61.
All are pending sentencing. Read more.
- October 25, 2012 - The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the arrests of 12 people associated with a chain of pot shops in Southern California.
John Melvin Walker allegedly operated 9 dispensaries in L.A. and Orange counties; he's been charged with failure to report taxable income, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and maintaining a drug location near schools. The suspect, who had previously been convicted of cocaine and pot charges, was also allegedly in possession of an AK-47 and shotgun.
Defendants, according to the feds, include:
-John Melvin Walker, also knows an "Pops," 56, of San Clemente, the owner/operator of the nine marijuana stores;
-Ryan Aparicio Mondragon, 30, Westminster, who managed Santa Ana Superior Care and who is currently being sought by authorities;
-Danielle Pamela Stebel, also known as "Mob Queen," 25, of Long Beach, who helped manage Belmont Shore Natural Care;
-Nicholas Einar Lattu, also known as "Dragon 6," 28, of Long Beach, who owned Shadow Ops Security, a company that provided security services to the marijuana stores, and who is currently being sought by authorities;
-Ryan Scott Hunt, 36, of Fullerton, who managed Garden Grove Alternative Care;
-Perry Brooks Forehand, also known as "Bucky," 33, of Mission Viejo, the manager of Safe Harbor Collective;
-Nicholas Martin Butier III, 32, of Lakewood, who was the manager of Alternative Herbal Health;
-Sierra Marina Serhan, also known as "Happy Chick," 33, of Long Beach, who helped manage Belmont Shore Natural Care;
-Alvin Wesley Walker, 29, of Long Beach, who is believed to be John Walker's nephew and who helped manage Belmont Shore Natural Care;
-John Eugene Scandalios, 59, of Lakewood, who allegedly supplied marijuana to Santa Fe Compassionate Health Care;
-Karen Lee Leto, 70, of Huntington Beach, who allegedly helped manage Costa Mesa Patients Association;
-Craig Lawrence Leto, 49, of Newport Beach who is Karen Leto's son and who allegedly helped manage Costa Mesa Patients Association;
-Michael Alan Nixon, 33, of Long Beach, who allegedly supplied marijuana to Santa Fe Compassionate Health Care;
-Alan David Nixon, 59, of Long Beach, who is Michael Nixon's father and who allegedly managed Santa Fe Compassionate Health Care.
All of the above are charged with conspiracy. They were arraigned on 10/26 in Orange County.
UPDATE 4/1/13: Walker pleaded guilty to two felony counts: conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and tax evasion. He must forfeit more than $25 million in assets, cash and business interests — including his Tuscan manor high above the Pacific in San Clemente, two homes in Long Beach and four mobile homes in Mammoth — and possibly pay $4.3 million in tax restitution. He faces 10 years to life in prison, but prosecutors say sentencing guidelines call for 21 years to 27 years. Justice Selna is scheduled to sentence Walker on July 22. The remaining defendants are scheduled to have their trial begin on Sept. 24.
- October 19, 2012 - Raymond Arthur Gentile, 51, and Gustavo Angel Salinas, 24, are accused of various crimes related to marijuana cultivation and distribution for involvement with ANP Collective in Bakersfield. Gentile, who was arrested in San Bernardino County after a high-speed chase with California Highway Patrol officers, also faces a federal firearm charge. The case began after a customer accused them of assault with a baseball bat and a Glock handgun after he allegedly stole one gram of marijuana during a purchase. Agents seized 170 marijuana plants, 25 pounds of processed marijuana, nearly 3,000 pills, a 12-gauge shotgun and more than $68,000 in cash. Gentile and Salinas each face a maximum of 40 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines, the U.S. Attorney's office said. Read more.
- October 11, 2012 - OAKLAND SUES FEDS WHILE LONG BEACH RAIDS 7 DISPENSARIES
In contrasting moves, the city of Oakland has sued the federal government to stop its forfeiture actions against city-regulated dispensaries, while Long Beach has joined the feds to arrest 40 dispensary workers and is threatening to arrest more.
- September 27, 2012 - 150 agents from US Homeland Security (!), FBI, DEA, CHP and Sonoma sheriff's deputies wearing military garb and were accompanied by an armored military vehicle stormed from house to house, pulling up backyard gardens, in an impoverished section of Santa Rosa. Read more.
On September 25, Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided the Live Love Collective in Anaheim.
Meanwhile, five medical marijuana patients and caregivers from Michigan will be sentenced in federal court next week. Read more.
- September 25 - Federal authorities took legal action against 71 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County, including all known collectives in downtown and Eagle Rock part of an ongoing campaign to crack down on medical marijuana.
According to the U.S. attorney's office, officials sent warning letters to 68 pot dispensaries, filed forfeiture lawsuits against three properties that house such businesses and served search warrants at three additional facilities. Read more.
- 7/17/2012 - Federal agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in unincorporated Lake Elsinore, for the second time in three months. Drug Enforcement Agency agents seized marijuana from Compassionate Patients Association, in the 17500 block of Grand Avenue, and told them to shut down. No arrests were made.
- 7/16/2012 - Mark Bagdasarian, the Clovis pot dispensary owner who already is facing marijuana possession and distribution allegations, is now being hit with federal money laundering charges, even as HSBC bank apologizes to a Senate committee for laundering billions in Mexican cartel drug assets (but faces no criminal charges).
- 7/12/2012 - The federal government filed property forfeiture suits aimed at closing Harborside, the foremost medical cannabis dispensary still operating in Northern California. In addition to its flagship Oakland location, Harborside operates a branch in San Jose. The landlords of both received forfeiture notices from the DOJ. Read more.
- 7/11/2012 - A federal search warrant was served at the Pacific Collective in Venice; the facility is now closed.
The federal government has sent a letter to the landlord for Golden State Patient Care Collective in Colfax, threatening him with forfeiture and criminal charges. "Once again, the DOJ is violating AG Holder's own supposed policy by targeting not rogue criminal profiteers, but a well-run, respected dispensary that is abiding in full accordance with California law," said Dale Gieringer of CalNORML. "The DOJ's real agenda is to try to destroy the most successful leaders in the medical cannabis industry because they prove that lawful access to cannabis works, contrary to the government's bankrupt policy of prohibition."
In June, federal authorities filed two asset forfeiture lawsuits against properties housing three pot shops in Santa Fe Springs and sent warning letters to 34 people associated with allegedly illegal marijuana operations in Los Angeles County. The warning letters targeted known marijuana stores in Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, South El Monte, La Mirada, Diamond Bar, Artesia, Paramount, South Gate, City of Commerce, Agoura Hills and Malibu.
- 5/4/2012 - The DEA, along with the U.S. Attorney's Office, IRS and Santa Barbara police, served search warrants at several collectives and gardens in Santa Barbara county, and filed three forfeiture proceedings in court. "All known marijuana stores in Santa Barbara County are now the subject of federal enforcement actions," said to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
According to the U.S, Attorney's Office, the asset-forfeiture lawsuits were filed against Miramar Collective on Ortega Hill Road in Summerland, Pacific Coast Collective, at 331 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara, whose operator is currently being prosecuted in state court, and an indoor marijuana farm in the 300 block of East Haley Street in Santa Barbara.
Warrants were also served Wednesday at Pacific Coast Collective, and the residence of operator Charles Jeff Restivo in Carpinteria, who is already facing felony charges related to the dispensary. Read more.
- 4/25/2012 - Federal prosecutors filed forfeiture actions on April 23 against The Green Door Wellness Center and the Green Tiger Collective, both in Novato. The Green Tiger has closed, but the Green Door is fighting to stay open. Read more.
- 2/29/2012 - US attorneys have sent landlord letters to over 50 more dispensaries in the Inland Empire area (San Bernardino, Fontana, Colton and Bloomington), where local officials have been pressing to close them. In addition, Cal NORML has learned of new landlord letters in Mendocino, apparently targeted at facilities within 1,000 feet of schools or playgrounds.
On February 28, Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, vowed a new crackdown on large medical marijuana grows. In an appearance at the Sacramento Press club, Wagner said in the coming months a new focus will be made on pot farms with tens of thousands of plants in the central valley, from Stanislaus County down to Kern County," Wagner said. When asked if he'd ever smoked marijuana himself, Wagner replied, "I'll say I went to college."
That day, U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. dismissed one of five suits that had been filed in federal courts last fall in a bid to win legal support for medical marijuana use in California and other states. Burrell's order came in a suit filed in federal court in Sacramento last November on behalf of the El Camino Wellness Center and Ryan Landers, a 40-year-old Sacramento man who uses medical marijuana to alleviate suffering from AIDS and other illnesses.
- February 21, 2012 - Matthew Shotwell, operator and founder of Greenwell Cooperative in Vallejo was arrested by Vallejo Police and taken into custody. Almost 800 plants were seized from the different locations, police said. The U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of California is also investigating a potential civil action against the building's owner, Vallejo Police Lt. Ken Weaver said. Other collectives in Valljeo were reportedly raided on the same day. UPDATE 3/20/2013 - Charges against Shotwell were dismissed for lack of evidence of a crime, as they were against all five of the Vallejo dispensaries
- January 25, 2012 - Federal agents seized more than 2,500 marijuana plants and arrested at least six people in connection with alleged marijuana grows in an industrial complex just outside Murrieta city limits. On Jan. 18, there were 1,827 marijuana plants seized from the Disabled American Veteran's Collective (DAVC), in the same complex. Two people were arrested in that raid: Kevin Freeman, 38, of Temecula, the director of the collective, and Dennis Earl Zuniga, 32. Prior to the raids, DAVC was visited twice in December by an undercover Riverside County Sheriff's detective who had obtained a medical marijuana card and was able to purchase marijuana twice at the dispensary, according to the warrant. The building's owner Jonathan Cringan, according to the warrant, who was among four arrested. Read more.
- UPDATE 9/10/12 - Christopher Cronshaw, 25, was sentenced to 125 days in prison and three months home arrest and Gregory Zuckert to three days in prison and three months home arrest. Prosecutors say the 25-year-old Cronshaw was the head grower at Washington's greenhouse.
- January 18, 2012 - As part of a continuing, coordinated effort against commercial marijuana operations in California that started last fall, federal prosecutors have filed four asset forfeiture lawsuits against properties housing marijuana storefronts in Los Angeles and Orange counties and have sent warning letters to property owners and operators of illegal marijuana stores in several Southland cities.
The forfeiture actions include American Collective, Otherside Farms, and three other marijuana stores operating at 440 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. All known collectives in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach are now the subject of federal enforcement actions.
Another asset forfeiture lawsuit has been filed against the building that houses the Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective (AMCC) in an unincorporated part of Covina.
Warning letters were sent last week to property owners and operators associated with marijuana stores in unincorporated Walnut, La Puente, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore, where a total of 17 stores are believed to be currently operating. Those receiving letters were warned that the stores are operating in violation of federal law and that they have 15 days to take steps to discontinue the sale and distribution of marijuana at the stores.
Three civil forfeiture actions filed in October are still pending, but the stores in the properties have been closed. And dozens of letters sent to those associated with marijuana stores in 13 Southland cities have resulted in nearly all of the stores being closed, with the remainder currently being the subject of eviction proceedings.
- January 12, 2012 - United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint against Grass, aka Sacramento Holistic Healing Center. According to the complaint, Grass/SHHC is located less than 1,000 feet from an elementary school and a high school. Read more.
And federal agents raided three pot dispensaries in San Diego acting on a "landlord law" that was put into action by the U.S. Attorney's office last year. Agents targeted Golden West Collective on University Avenue in North Park with assistance from San Diego Police. Read more.
Cal NORML has received word that in Sacramento County, a score of dispensaries have closed voluntarily in response to the landlord letters. Also, in the Northern District several well-regarded dispensaries have been targeted on the spurious grounds that they were within 1,000 feet of playgrounds or parks, including the Humboldt Medical Supply in Arcata.
- October 14, 2011 - Federal prosecutors are warning 16 Sacramento-area landlords they could lose their buildings for renting to marijuana dispensaries. United States Attorney Ben Wagner is following through on a threat formally announced at a news conference last Friday, and confirmed the number of landlord letters in an interview Thursday on Capital Public Radio.
- October 13, 2011 - DEA agents along with BNE and one Mendocino county sheriff deputy raided the garden of Northstone Organics, one of the county-licensed medical marijuana growers. Northstone has been involved in a court case in Sonoma county after two of their drivers were caught there while transporting marijuana to medical patients in the Bay area. A Mendocino sheriff and county supervisor testified on behalf of Northstone in that trial.
Also on this day, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment Mark Bagdasarian and his son Ryan Bagdasarian with conspiring to cultivate and distribute marijuana and possessing marijuana through their Buds 4 Life dispensaries in Fresno. According to the criminal complaint, in June 2011, the Bagdasarian’s stores were searched and law enforcement officers found 3,669 marijuana plants, 219 pounds of processed marijuana, and more than $546,000 in cash. A more recent search yielded another 35 pounds of processed marijuana and $40,000 in cash.
- October 12, 2011 - DEA agents, assisted by Pomona police officers, raided the Green Cross USA dispensary, seizing marijuana, edibles, hashish, hashish oil and some documents as part of an investigation. The property owner had received a letter from DEA threatening civil and criminal charges; local authorities had also moved to close the shop. No arrests have been made.
- October 5, 2011 - In conjunction with a new federal assault on California's medical marijuana providers, a criminal case was unsealed naming six defendants linked to a now-defunct North Hollywood marijuana collective called NoHo Caregivers. The organization allegedly sold marijuana to other stores, and sent marijuana to affiliates in New York and Pennsylvania - distributed approximately 600 to 700 pounds of marijuana per month, according to the indictment. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $14.7 million. The defendants named in the NoHo Caregivers indictment are Paul A. Montoya, Noah Joel Kleinman, Kathy Thabet, James Stanley, Bryant Watson, and Casey Wheat. Their trial is set for May 22, 2012.
Prosecutors also filed three forfeiture actions against owners of buildings where The Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group, Montclair Caregivers in San Bernardino County, and eight stores located in a two-story strip mall at 26402 Raymond Way in Lake Forest.
Federal authorities arrested Ron Chang, 43, of the Wildomar collective; Amanda Theresa Ventura, 28; Peter Arthur Suhan, 54; Hal Delno Pilotte, 57; and Gary David Maddox, 55. A sixth defendant, James Travis Brand, 28, was extradited from Texas and also charged. Pilotte had a hearing in San Diego on January 10, 2012, where the judge granted the defense team time to investigate a wiretap order.
Pilotte had lots of support in court from other senior citizens, most of them not medical marijuana patients.
In addition to the criminal case and the forfeiture actions, the United States Attorney's Office sent dozens of letters yesterday to people affiliated with 38 marijuana dispensaries in selected cities across the Southland. Those receiving letters are warned that the stores are operating in violation of federal law and that they have two weeks to "take the necessary steps to discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana" at the stores. The letters note that the operation of a marijuana store "may result in criminal prosecution, imprisonment, fines, and forfeiture of assets, including the real property on which the dispensary is operating and any money you receive (or have received) from the dispensary operator."
The cities are:
• Orange County - the cities of Lake Forest, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, and Rancho Santa Margarita;
• Riverside County - the cities of Murrieta, Wildomar, and Temecula; and
• Inland Empire - the cities of Pomona, Claremont, Upland, Montclair, and Chino.
Also receiving a letter was the building owner of the state's longest-operating dispensary, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax. It warns the landlord that he could be liable for imprisonment of up to 40 years, forfeiture of the property, and forfeiture of all rental proceeds from the last 15 years for violating federal law if MAMM isn't evicted.
Building owners for three dispensaries in San Francisco also received letters, as did the Ocean Beach Wellness Centers and Oasis Herbal Center in San Diego. In recent weeks, federal authorities seized the bank accounts of two dispensaries in Sacramento and announced a $2.4 million tax penalty against Harborside Health Center in Oakland.
- July 20, 2011 - Jerry Laberdee, Dennis Whited, Russell Blake, Charles Wright and Jon Vivian have been indicted on federal charges that arose from a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane, Washington earlier this year. The charges carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
- July 13, 2011 - Ten people have pleaded not guilty to various federal charges of drug-trafficking conspiracy after approximately 30 law enforcement agencies executed 26 criminal search warrants in 13 Montana cities on March 14. Jason D. Burns, Joshua L. Schultz and Jesse D. Leland pleaded not guilty on June 23 to manufacturing, distribution, possession, and money laundering charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula. On June 30, Richard G. Flor, Justin L. Flor and Sherry L. Flor were each charged with 11 felonies, including possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offense in U.S. District Court in Billings. On July 6, Jonathan Janetski, Michael Kassner, Tyler Roe and Evan Corum were charged with three counts each in Missoula. An eleventh person is yet to be arrested, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr. All of the defendants face a mandatory minimum of five years, and up to 40 years in prison if convicted. The weapons charges against the Flors could lead to life imprisonment. Operators of the Montana Caregivers Association and MCM Caregivers, which were among the targets of the raids, have filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming their constitutional rights were violated.
UPDATE: On Sept. 7, 2011, Schultz pleaded guilty to a charge of distributing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. He agreed to forfeit at least $600,000 in cash and a Mercedes car, according to court documents. Leland pleaded guilty on Sept. 13. Both men are scheduled to be sentenced in December.
Separate from the March raids, Shawn Slattery and Andrew Umhey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney. Prosecutors alleged that from October 2010 to February 2011, Slattery and Umhey operated the Four-Twenty Ranch LLC, where marijuana was produced and stored. In February, law enforcement officers seized 272 marijuana plants and 32.5 pounds of marijuana from the business. Both face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. They are scheduled to be sentenced on December 22. (Source: Medical Marijuana Business Report
UPDATE 3/12: Corum was sentenced to six months in prison, plus six months of house arrest. Kassner and Roe were sentenced to a year and a day each in prison.
UPDATE 8/29: Chris Lindsey, the president of an advocacy group behind a lawsuit and a ballot measure challenging Montana’s restrictive new medical marijuana law, has struck a deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises for his involvement with Montana Cannabis. The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine upon conviction.
Dan Nichols, a former Montana Cannabis employee who is known for kidnapping a world-class biathlete in the 1980s with his father in a scheme to make the woman his mountain bride, has also been charged, as has Chris Williams. Source.
- Also see: Grim Times for ExPot Providers
UPDATE 9/28: Williams was found guilty on eight charges by a jury on September 27, 2012.
Williams wasn't able to tell the jurors anything about the Montana Medical Marijuana Act since Judge Christensen ruled that marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug under federal law; as such, possession, cultivation and distribution of it remains a federal crime. Montana laws, he added, weren't pertinent to the case and he didn't allow any mention of them before jurors or as a defense. [This is the case in all federal kangaroo court trials regarding medical marijuana.] Williams's lawyer Michael Donahoe stated that he believes the federal government is guilty of entrapment of his client, and will appeal on that basis and others.
The New York Times wrote, "While Jerry Sandusky got a 30-year minimum sentence for raping young boys, Mr. Williams is looking at a mandatory minimum of more than 80 years for marijuana charges and for possessing firearms during a drug-trafficking offense."
UPDATE 2/13: Federal prosecutors agreed to drop six of eight marijuana convictions for Chris Williams in exchange for his agreeing to waive his right to appeal. In addition, the government has agreed to ask U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen to dismiss the $1,728,000 criminal forfeiture awarded to the government by a jury earlier this year.
Since Williams’ incarceration, a White House petition to pardon him has received more than 27,000 signatures and a documentary, Code of the West, has publicized his plight. It’s unknown whether Williams’ sentencing hearing, slated for Jan. 4 in Missoula, will still take place on that date.
On February 2, 2013, Williams was sentenced to 5 years in prison.