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Sentencing Of Legally Compliant Medical Marijuana Providers Highlights Harmful Obama Policy


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Justice Department uses prosecutorial discretion to seek decades in prison for legal Michigan cultivators

 

DETROIT, MI – Five medical marijuana patients and caregivers will be sentenced in federal court next week, highlighting the human cost of the federal government’s intolerance for state medical marijuana laws.

michigan-medical-marijuana-300x120.jpgTwo medical marijuana caregivers from Monroe County who were convicted earlier this year in federal court will be sentenced at 3pm Monday, October 1st before U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson. Gerald Lee Duval Jr., 52, and his son, Jeremy Duval, 30, were raided by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in 2011 and charged with felony cultivation, maintaining a place to cultivate marijuana, and conspiracy to distribute. In April, the Duvals were convicted at trial, the expected result of federal laws that prohibit any medical defense or reference to state law in front of juries.

“The Duvals’ case is another tragedy from President Obama’s war on medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “This type of enforcement is completely discretionary, unnecessary and far from the public health approach that medical marijuana patients deserve.” The Duvals face decades in prison despite no evidence of state law violations.

Days later, three more medical marijuana patients and caregivers will be sentenced in federal court in Michigan. Around the same time federal agents were raiding the Duvals, officers with the Central Michigan Enforcement Team (CMET) and the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department raided the Austin Township home and other property of John Marcinkewciz, 42, and Shelley Waldron, 42. Marcinkewciz, Waldron and Jaycob Montague, 26, were originally charged under state law with cultivation and conspiracy to cultivate, but prosecutors soon turned their cases over to the federal Justice Department, where the three had no chance of defending themselves against federal law. Marcinkewciz, Waldron and Montague all subsequently took plea bargains in May.

Waldron and Montague are scheduled to be sentenced at 8:45am on October 4th before Judge Robert Bell in U.S. District Court at 110 Michigan Street NW, Grand Rapids. Marcinkewciz is scheduled to be sentenced at 8:45am on October 5th before the same judge. In spite of the plea bargains, the three medical marijuana providers still face decades in prison.

“The federal raids and prosecutions in Michigan are unfortunately only an example of the broader aggressive campaign by the Obama Administration to undermine state medical marijuana laws,” continued Sherer. As with the Duval raid, DEA agents commonly burst onto the scene wearing full body armor and wielding machine guns in a clear attempt to intimidate. Despite claims by the president that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws,” Obama’s Justice Department has conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids and indicted well over 70 medical marijuana patients and providers since he took office.

federal lawsuit to force the DEA to reclassify marijuana for medical use will be heard by the D.C. Circuit on October 16th. The case Americans for Safe Access v. DEA is bringing the science of medical marijuana into federal court for the first time in nearly 20 years. If marijuana were reclassified, the five people being sentenced in Michigan would be entitled to a medical defense, a right they are now denied.

 

http://www.thedailychronic.net/2012/12412/federal-sentencing-of-legally-compliant-medical-marijuana-providers-highlights-harmful-obama-policy/

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Compliant?

 

3 greenhouses is not compliant.

 

heh.

really Malamute.  You would not be saying shiet if you were the only getting prosecuted.  I think you might want to rethink before you think ANYBODY should be in jailover a fuxin herb.  It is real easy for us all to sit here high and mighty until your the one getting raided.

 

i went thru a raid and court case over 15 yrs ago and I will NEVER EVER forget what this system does to people.

 

I forever will never agree with the utter and completely failed war on drugs.

Edited by motorcitymeds
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really Malamute.  You would not be saying shiet if you were the only getting prosecuted.  I think you might want to rethink before you ANYBODY should be in jailover a fuxin herb.  It is real easy for us all to sit here high and mighty until your the one getting raided.

i agree know one can feel the pain and stress unless they live it 

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Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration's high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst."

The federal crackdown imperils the medical care of the estimated 730,000 patients nationwide – many of them seriously ill or dying – who rely on state-sanctioned marijuana recommended by their doctors. In addition, drug experts warn, the White House's war on law-abiding providers of medical marijuana will only drum up business for real criminals. "The administration is going after legal dispensaries and state and local authorities in ways that are going to push this stuff back underground again," says Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a former Republican senator who has urged the DEA to legalize medical marijuana, pulls no punches in describing the state of affairs produced by Obama's efforts to circumvent state law: "Utter chaos."

In its first two years, the Obama administration took a refreshingly sane approach to medical marijuana. Shortly after Obama took office, a senior drug-enforcement official pledged to Rolling Stone that the question of whether marijuana is medicine would now be determined by science, "not ideology." In March 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder emphasized that the Justice Department would only target medical-marijuana providers "who violate both federal and state law." The next morning, a headline in The New York Times read OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO STOP RAIDS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSERS. While all forms of marijuana would remain strictly illegal under federal law – the DEA ranks cannabis as a Schedule I drug, on par with heroin – the feds would respect state protections for providers of medical pot. Framing the Obama administration's new approach, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske famously declared, "We're not at war with people in this country."

That original hands-off policy was codified in a Justice Department memo written in October 2009 by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden. The so-called "Ogden memo" advised federal law-enforcement officials that the "rational use of its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources" meant that medical-marijuana patients and their "caregivers" who operate in "clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law" could be left alone.

At the same time, Ogden was concerned that the feds not "be made a fool of" by illegal drug traffickers. In that vein, his memo advised U.S. attorneys to focus on going after pot dispensaries that posed as medicinal but were actively engaged in criminal acts, such as selling to minors, possession of illegal firearms or money-laundering. The idea, as Holder put it, was to raid only those hardcore traffickers who "use medical-marijuana laws as a shield."

The Ogden memo sent a clear message to the states: The feds will only intervene if you allow pot dispensaries to operate as a front for criminal activity. States from New Mexico to Maine moved quickly to license and regulate dispensaries through their state health departments – giving medical marijuana unprecedented legitimacy. In California, which had allowed "caregivers" to operate dispensaries, medical pot blossomed into a $1.3 billion enterprise – shielded from federal blowback by the Ogden memo.

The administration's recognition of medical cannabis reached its high-water mark in July 2010, when the Department of Veterans Affairs validated it as a legitimate course of treatment for soldiers returning from the front lines. But it didn't take long for the fragile federal detente to begin to collapse. The reversal began at the Drug Enforcement Agency with Michele Leonhart, a holdover from the Bush administration who was renominated by Obama to head the DEA. An anti-medical-marijuana hard-liner, Leonhart had been rebuked in 2008 by House Judiciary chairman John Conyers for targeting dispensaries with tactics "typically reserved for the worst drug traffickers and kingpins." Her views on the larger drug war are so perverse, in fact, that last year she cited the slaughter of nearly 1,000 Mexican children by the drug cartels as a counterintuitive "sign of success in the fight against drugs."

In January 2011, weeks after Leonhart was confirmed, her agency updated a paper called "The DEA Position on Marijuana." With subject headings like THE FALLACY OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICINAL USE and SMOKED MARIJUANA IS NOT MEDICINE, the paper simply regurgitated the Bush administration's ideological stance, in an attempt to walk back the Ogden memo. Sounding like Glenn Beck, the DEA even blamed "George Soros" and "a few billionaires, not broad grassroots support" for sustaining the medical-marijuana movement – even though polls show that 70 percent of Americans approve of medical pot.



Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-war-on-pot-20120216#ixzz2WDHCtnn4 
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

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really Malamute.  You would not be saying shiet if you were the only getting prosecuted.  I think you might want to rethink before you think ANYBODY should be in jailover a fuxin herb.  It is real easy for us all to sit here high and mighty until your the one getting raided.

 

i went thru a raid and court case over 15 yrs ago and I will NEVER EVER forget what this system does to people.

 

I forever will never agree with the utter and completely failed war on drugs.

 

But some herbs are illegal.  Should they be?  Probably not.  But they are.  And it isn't a secret.  So it shouldn't be a surprise either. 

 

Is this right?  That isn't the discussion.

 

The discussion is about what is legal.

 

I can't drive 55; and I don't think I should have to.  But that doesn't give me a defense when I get a speeding ticket.

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really Malamute.  You would not be saying shiet if you were the only getting prosecuted.  I think you might want to rethink before you think ANYBODY should be in jailover a fuxin herb.  It is real easy for us all to sit here high and mighty until your the one getting raided.

 

i went thru a raid and court case over 15 yrs ago and I will NEVER EVER forget what this system does to people.

 

I forever will never agree with the utter and completely failed war on drugs.

Really?

 

What is inaccurate about Mal's remark? How does yours address it? Looks to me like something stated with eyes wide open, or in Mal's case, bloodshot open eyes and a toothy grin.

Edited by GregS
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I don't think anyone should be in jail over marijuana.  That being said, people should know what the law is by now.  These people were not only breaking federal law, they were breaking the state medical marijuana law as well.  The title is misleading as they weren't compliant.

 

Should we keep defending people that blatantly break the law?  How does their actions reflect on our community as a whole?  

 

I'm not taking a stance on this, I just think it's something we should think about.

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But some herbs are illegal.  Should they be?  Probably not.  But they are.  And it isn't a secret.  So it shouldn't be a surprise either. 

 

Is this right?  That isn't the discussion.

 

The discussion is about what is legal.

 

I can't drive 55; and I don't think I should have to.  But that doesn't give me a defense when I get a speeding ticket.

 

After reading the title of the thread and the article it seems like the discussion is about the Obama administration choosing to prosecute medical patients. The discussion is not about what is legal, it is about the feds choosing to prosecute medical patients when they do not have to, regardless of the legality of the individuals involved. 

Edited by OG Fire Beaster
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After reading the title of the thread and the article it seems like the discussion is about the Obama administration choosing to prosecute medical patients. The discussion is not what about what is legal, it is about the feds choosing to prosecute medical patients when they do not have to, regardless of the legality of the individuals involved. 

 

 

i would also agree it does seam the Fed's our not going away anytime soon and more people will end up  in jail i am glad that am almost out

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Got it. No argument. That does not change the facts on the ground.

 

How do you cut it? Will you be the model citizen and carefully obey the laws, or will you engage in civil disobedience hoping to see the change you want?

 

How do you cut it? There is a difference in civil disobedience and trying to make a bunch of money.  Where is that line, and if you are on the side of making money, then should the community support you, or are you using the community to get exonerated?  Does 100 examples of someone getting arrested for pushing the MMMA as "civil disobedience" help the movement or does it make us all look like criminals?

 

Just playing devil's advocate, and asking questions, I'm not taking any stances.

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I will never vote Democratic or Republican again. I am really disillusioned about Obama.

 

I wish a whistle blower would step forward and tell us what made Obama change his mind after he got elected. Without a statement from someone on the inside we are left to speculate and concoct our own conspiracy theories.

 

Here's mine:

 

The DEA and the Drug Cartels have a vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal. It is a paycheck for them. In order to keep the money flowing, the Drug Cartels have threatened to kill Obama's family if he gives up the war on drugs. The DEA, also wanting to keep the money flowing, turns a blind eye to the cartel's threats and Obama becomes an unwilling participant in the war.

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I will never vote Democratic or Republican again. I am really disillusioned about Obama.

 

I wish a whistle blower would step forward and tell us what made Obama change his mind after he got elected. Without a statement from someone on the inside we are left to speculate and concoct our own conspiracy theories.

 

Here's mine:

 

The DEA and the Drug Cartels have a vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal. It is a paycheck for them. In order to keep the money flowing, the Drug Cartels have threatened to kill Obama's family if he gives up the war on drugs. The DEA, also wanting to keep the money flowing, turns a blind eye to the cartel's threats and Obama becomes an unwilling participant in the war.

 

 

 

Most of them cannot be trusted they just tell you what you want to hear and you vote for them.........  I know seems dumb right?

 

Thats because it is.......

 

Heres mine........ He lied again and got voted in again........ Seems dumb right?

 

Thats because it is.........

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Compliant?

 

3 greenhouses is not compliant.

 

heh.

They were compliant according to mi law and court decisions in 2011, with 144 plants (72 per gh) between 2 cg who were also patients, at the same address. The ghs were secured.  The federal charges interpreted the cg/patient relationship as a conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Edited by pic book
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How do you cut it? There is a difference in civil disobedience and trying to make a bunch of money.  Where is that line, and if you are on the side of making money, then should the community support you, or are you using the community to get exonerated?  Does 100 examples of someone getting arrested for pushing the MMMA as "civil disobedience" help the movement or does it make us all look like criminals?

 

Just playing devil's advocate, and asking questions, I'm not taking any stances.

 

In the eyes of the federal government we are criminals regardless of our state laws. Money should have no impact on the outcome of civil disobedience. Everyone has to make a living and feed their families some how. I would rather it was from economic activity than theft and handouts. The movement encompassess all aspects of "the plant". Just because I am able to use and grow, by means of the state, does not mean I have forgotten about everyone else. I think the selfish stance is the one where people say "well I can grow and use so screw everybody else, I am not gonna make waves." We have been granted a little bit of comfort but there is still much more work to do.

Edited by OG Fire Beaster
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Obama promised to stop federal raids on states that have Medical MJ laws.  Another lie from the greatest con man in the world.

 

Ralph Nader Slams Obama: "Has There Been a Bigger Con Man in the White House Than Barrack Obama?"

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/06/13/ralph-nader-has-there-been-bigger-con-man-white-house-barack-obama

 

He promised to shut down gitmo, he promised government transperancy, he promised to protect whistle blowers, he promised to end our illegal wars!

 

Whats new?  Another lying POS politicians who played the American people yet again!! 

 

We live in a free country and no one should be imprisoned for using MMJ.  I don't give a dang even if they were making loads of money!  Eric Holder won't prosecute Monsanto for their crimes against humanity by poisoning our food supply yet the federal goons have time to waste prosecuting MJ growers? 

 

Why aren't they going after the Cartels?  Oh thats right, the CIA works with the cartels.  The CIA is the biggest drug dealer in the world and loves to see grassroots, local growers go to prison for years whie they sling their opium and low grade Mexican Cartel schwag.

 

The MMJ community must stick together or we will all hang seperately!  The fed can come after any one of us at any time!  They have all of our phone and text records and will use them as evidence to continue persecuting our community!  It is just a matter of time until they come for you or I next.  They are building a prison planet and I for one am sick of non violent MMJ users being thrown into prison while rapists and pedophiles run free.

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In the eyes of the federal government we are criminals regardless of our state laws. Money should have no impact on the outcome of civil disobedience. Everyone has to make a living and feed their families some how. I would rather it was from economic activity than theft and handouts. The movement encompassess all aspects of "the plant". Just because I am able to use and grow, by means of the state, does not mean I have forgotten about everyone else. I think the selfish stance is the one where people say "well I can grow and use so screw everybody else, I am not gonna make waves." We have been granted a little bit of comfort but there is still much more work to do.

 

I was just talking about state law, and how it effects us as MMJ patients.  

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Sigh.

 

 Between the two busts he had over 200 plants I do believe.

 

 Multiple people had access to the greenhouses.

 

 And they kept a ledger showing they had sold over $300,000 worth of marijuana. Hmm.. $30,000/ per patient they were paid? Of course not. They were funneling to other sources than their patients. And they were caught.

 

 Anyone here thinks it is wise to produce over 100 plants outdoors?

 

 

 Don't make me laugh when ya say they were Michigan legal for Sec. 4 protections.

 

 Is it sad? definitely. It is sad I couldn't tell them they were idiots for doing it and not being more safe about it. But hey. People make mistakes and pushed the envelope too far. It happens.

 

 

 And I am very familiar with what it is like to get busted. Preachin to the choir.  Getting busted for cannabis is nothing special.  Just another number tossed into the millions and millions that have been.

 

 And these people rose to the top of stupid to get themselves busted.  Heck, they got raided and started regrowing right away and got busted again.

 

 Not the brightest bulbs. 

 

 And there is a difference between civil disobedience and felonious disobedience. But regardless of that,....

 

 If this was civil disobedience then he WANTED to get arrested to make a political point.

 

 Mission accomplished.

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I've read a lot of conflicting stories about the "facts" of that case. You seem pretty certain about it, have some inside knowledge? You come across as almost happy their going to jail. If you have 1 gram or 1 plant you are just as guilty in the eyes of the feds. Way to be their cheerleader though. Care to enlighten us on the difference between civil disobedience and felonious disobedience?

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I was at the protest downtown and have talked to him their he didn't even have a card i dont think i know he did tell me he doesn't even use mmj only a few times in his life

 

but he did have the Leo"s come out and they gave him the OK and thats the part i don't get because the Leo"s called the Feds on him

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Nobody is happy they went to jail.  However, they weren't being civilly disobedient.  If they were they would have done what they did in public to force the police to arrest them, pointing out the absurdity of the law.  That's not what these people did.  they blatantly ignored the law to make a huge profit.  The details are public knowledge.  Anyone can go and read the court transcripts.  

 

These people broke the law, they were not complying with the MMMJ because they wanted to make a lot of money.  To use our community and to hide behind the MMJ is disingenuous at best.  At worst, it makes all MMJ patients look like criminals that are using the law for an excuse to be drug dealers.

 

Where do we draw the line and start to recognize that these people aren't helping the medical community at all?  Where do we draw the line and create a difference between those actually using it for medical reasons and those hiding behind medical marijuana to continue criminal activities?

 

i don't think anyone should go to jail for marijuana, but I also think that people doing huge illegal grows for a profit shouldn't use you and I, and every other sick person on this forum, as a shield to try and disguise their true motives.

 

Remember this law was passed to get sick people off the front lines in the War on Drugs.  People like this are just putting disabled people back in the front ranks.

 

In summary, he shouldn't have been convicted for growing marijuana, but he shouldn't have lied about why he was growing such a large amount.  Apparently the court didn't believe him about growing for MMJ patients anyway, and all he succeeded in doing by using that defense was to make the whole community out to be criminals trying to use the law for a profit instead of for medical relief.

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