A Washington state man who was arrested on federal felony charges after he was caught growing medical marijuana, which he supplied to military veterans, was given five years’ probation over prison.
Interestingly, the prosecutor in the case had informed the judge of his belief that the defendant was at his core “altruistic and a man of his convictions.”
Our Washington state marijuana lawyers understand that per federal law, this man could have received anywhere from 2.5 to 3 years for his alleged crimes, which were related to his cultivation of more than 50 marijuana plants.
The prosecutor’s words no doubt played a role in his reduced sentence. It probably didn’t hurt that the AIDS patient also had the support of family members, an area priest and a a veterans’ advocate who happens to also host a local radio program.
The defendant in this case has had an arduous road to this point in his life. He is a registered member of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. However, he was given up for adoption when he was about 1 year-old.
As a teenager, he came out to his parents as gay, and was subsequently the subject of threats, verbal abuse and even physical beatings. When a promised to help him escape his family in exchange for assistance in a burglary, he jumped at the chance. He was caught. After serving his time, he toured the world with the circus. However, tragedy struck and one of his best friends was killed mid-performance by an elephant. The elephant was euthanized.
Traumatized, the defendant turned to drugs. He became addicted to powerful substances. he then sought treatment and got clean. Then his partner died. Then he was diagnosed with AIDS. He lost his sobriety again briefly before getting back on the wagon.
He turned to medical marijuana as a means of coping with the pain and lack of appetite caused by his AIDS treatments. He became an active member of the medical marijuana movement in Montana, opening up a distribution center there. He ultimately had a dispute with his business partner, which led him to leave that center and move to Washington state.
Once here, he established a medical marijuana collective intended to provide care and services solely to military veterans.
However, last summer, his operation was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
His home and possessions were lost. His health began to fail while he was stuck in jail, as the corrections facility reportedly failed to provide him with adequate medical care for his condition.
Since his arrest, voters in Washington state approved a measure legalizing the distribution, possession and consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes.
However, this doesn’t appear to have stopped federal authorities. Just last month, the DEA carried out a series of coordinated raids on medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Washington State. The raids reportedly followed a two-year investigation by the agency, which said that the voter’s decision had no bearing on federal law and underscored their intention to continue carrying out such operations.
Federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, though there continue to be legal challenges to this flawed and antiquated statute.
The Washington State CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Rick Rosio, Veterans’ Medical Marijuana Provider, Gets 5 Years Of Probation, July 24, 2013, By Matt Sledge, The Huffington Post
More Blog Entries:
Federal Marijuana Convictions in Medical Marijuana States Tally 500 Years, June 17, 2013, Washington State Marijuana Lawyer Blog