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June 14, 2013

"Records Show Nearly 500 Years In Prison Time For Medical Marijuana Offenses"

The title of this post is the heading of this notable new entry on The Weed Blog, which gets started this way:

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.

A few other recent notable posts on the same blog include the following:

June 14, 2013 at 01:49 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I guess in our federalist system the Feds know best.

Posted by: Afp | Jun 14, 2013 10:09:56 PM

SHAME

Posted by: Anon | Jun 15, 2013 10:12:32 AM

Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

By Moxie Marlinspike
06.13.13
6:30 AM

Suddenly, it feels like 2000 again. Back then, surveillance programs like Carnivore, Echelon, and Total Information Awareness helped spark a surge in electronic privacy awareness. Now a decade later, the recent discovery of programs like PRISM, Boundless Informant, and FISA orders are catalyzing renewed concern.

The programs of the past can be characterized as “proximate surveillance,” in which the government attempted to use technology to directly monitor communication themselves. The programs of this decade mark the transition to “oblique surveillance,” in which the government more often just goes to the places where information has been accumulating on its own, such as email providers, search engines, social networks, and telecoms.
Apologists will always frame our use of information-gathering services like a mobile phone plan or Gmail as a choice.

Both then and now, privacy advocates have typically come into conflict with a persistent tension, in which many individuals don’t understand why they should be concerned about surveillance if they have nothing to hide. It’s even less clear in the world of “oblique” surveillance, given that apologists will always frame our use of information-gathering services like a mobile phone plan or Gmail as a choice.

We Won’t Always Know When We Have Something To Hide

As James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney, notes in his excellent lecture on why it is never a good idea to talk to the police:

Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. These laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are ”nearly 10,000.”

more good stuff at the "Wired" link and the comments are worthwhile. Even quoting the Federalist Papers. Remember those?

Posted by: George | Jun 16, 2013 9:35:28 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB