aamericans for safe access
alabama medical marijuana coalition
Americans for Safe Access
Six Felony Charges and Criminal Forfeiture Dismissed, Appeal Waived Medical cannabis provider Chris Williams has reached a settlement with prosecutors in his criminal proceedings. Under the terms of the highly-unusual, post-conviction compromise -- the second of its kind offered to Williams -- six of the charges will be dismissed, in exchange for withdrawing his pending motions for acquittal and a new trial. Until Tuesday, Williams faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 92 years in prison. By agreeing not to appeal his conviction on Count III and Count VI, the mandatory minimum penalties against Williams have been reduced to five years. Count III (Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana) carries a maximum term of 5 years imprisonment. Count VI (possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime) carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. As part of the deal, the federal government has also agreed to dismiss the criminal forfeiture against Montana Cannabis, the company Williams co-owned with three other men. "It was not easy for me to give up my Constitutional fight, but as I navigate this complex federal penal system, it has become clear that punishment is the only thing that is guaranteed," said Williams in a phone call from the Missoula County Detention Facility. "With the rest of my life literally hanging in the balance, I simply could not withstand the pressure any longer. If Judge Christensen shows mercy and limits my sentence to the 5-year mandatory minimum, I could be present at my...
Courageous Caregiver Refuses Constitutional 'Compromise' By Kari Boiter "I have decided to fight the federal government because for me, not defending the things that I know are right is dishonorable," writes Chris Williams from his cell at Crossroads Correctional Center, a for-profit prison in Shelby, Montana. "Every citizen has a responsibility to fight for what is right, even if it seems like the struggle will be lost." Williams' words are particularly poignant. As he writes from prison, he faces the near-certainty that he will spend the rest of his life locked away in an industrial-size cage. His crime? Providing medical marijuana to terminally ill and disabled patients authorized to use cannabis under Montana law. Williams co-owned Montana Cannabis, along with Tom Daubert, Chris Lindsey and Richard Flor. Daubert was a lobbyist who helped write Montana's medical marijuana law; Lindsey was a former public defender; Flor was the first registered caregiver in Montana; and Williams was the consummate farmer. Together, these men established a "gold standard" for strict compliance with Montana law. Montana Cannabis operated openly and honestly with direct oversight from the State Drug Task Force and other law enforcement agencies. In fact, the Narcotics Bureau Chief for the State of Montana is captured on film as Williams gives him a tour of the Helena greenhouse. Despite clear and unambiguous compliance with State law, Williams's company was taken down in highly-coordinated federal raids that targeted 26 businesses across Montana -- all in the course of a single day....
Montana medical marijuana provider Chris Williams on Thursday was found guilty on all eight counts related to his work at a state-licensed medicinal cannabis caregiver organization, which was the subject of a federal raid in March of 2011. The case was seen as a big test of the federal raids of state-compliant medical marijuana in the Big Sky State. Williams ran the Helena greenhouse of Montana Cannabis, where federal agents seized 950 plants in March 2011. The operation was the biggest of the 26 medical marijuana providers raided that day across Montana. The verdict was reached by the jury shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday, and Williams was immediately taken into custody by law enforcement officers. He was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute marijuana; and firearms charges. Williams faces mandatory minimum sentences which run into decades, and could be as high as 85 to 90 years. Maximum sentences run for several lifetimes. "It's a tragedy," said Chris Lindsey, president of the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, and former partner of Chris Williams in 2009. "Federal law needs to change and respect the wishes of the citizens, who overwhelmingly favor the availability of medical marijuana for those in need. "Federal law makes no allowance for it, and Mr. Williams will pay a heavy price for the government's refusal to bend to the will of voters in Montana and around the country," Lindsey said. Williams will remain in custody until he is sentenced. A sentencing hearing hasn't been set...