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Feds force severely-ill Michigan caregiver and patient to surrender, face 10 years in prison

Posted on May 30, 2013 by News Admin

Jerry Duval has been through a lot in his 53 years. A farmer in Michigan, he's seen his share of tough time economically. He's also been through juvenile diabetes, kidney and pancreas transplants, and now suffers from coronary artery disease, glaucoma and neuropathy. But through medical cannabis, he's found not only a way to improve his quality of life, but the quality of the lives of others by growing medical cannabis.

That is until federal agents raided his farm, found him guilty of manufacturing marijuana and "maintaining a drug premises" and sentenced him to ten years in prison in April 2012. Now Duval, and three other Michigan growers in similar situations, are left with no few options but to surrender and face their sentences.

Yesterday, dozens of protesters - including Duval - rallied at the federal courthouse in Detroit to protest Duval's prison sentence and the unfair treatment by the feds of medical marijuana growers and patients who were following state laws. Duval, like all other state-legal medical marijuana growers, was not allowed to bring up state medical marijuana laws in federal his trial because the federal government still considers all marijuana to be an illegal controlled substance.

Yet, despite Duval not being able to use state medical marijuana laws for his argument, the feds were able to use it in theirs. They said that Duval was using the state medical marijuana program as a front, and then forbid Duval from proving it wasn't. Duval addressed the crowd, again asserting that he was "100 percent legal" under state laws according to the Detroit Free Press.

According to Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, the feds have also tried to seize Duval's home and farmlands worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Jerry Duval and his 10-year sentence is emblematic of how the Obama Administration has been undermining state medical marijuana laws, while persecuting patients who are in no way violating state law," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director with Americans for Safe Access, in a press release. "President Obama and Attorney General Holder must start owning up to the unnecessary torment they're forcing not only cultivators, but thousands of patients, to endure."

According to the Huffington Post, Duval will be put in a facility that can meet his medical needs, namely the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass. Duval is scheduled to surrender to the prison by June 11. His incarceration likely will cost taxpayers more than $1.2 million.

But that doesn't give Duval's supporters much hope. Last year, seriously-ill medical marijuana grower Richard Flor, died while serving a five-year sentence after the Department of Justice failed to act on pleas from Flor's attorney that Flor receive medical attention.

 


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