A few weeks from today, Montana medical marijuana provider Chris Williams will be sentenced on four counts of “using firearms in furtherance of a drug crime,” due to the presence of guns at Montana Cannabis, the dispensary where Williams worked, and which the DEA shut down in 2011.
As Jacob Sullum explained last month, Williams, who has refused to plea bargain, will face a sentence of at least 80 years under federal mandatory minimum guidelines:
Specifically, prosecutors charged Williams, after he turned down a series of plea deals, with four counts of using firearms in furtherance of a drug crime, based on pistols and shotguns kept at the Helena grow operation where he worked. Federal law prescribes a five-year mandatory minimum penalty for the first such offense and 25 years for each subsequent offense.
Furthermore, the sentences must be served consecutively. Hence Williams, who was convicted of all four gun charges, will get at least 80 years when he is sentenced in January, even though he was not charged with wielding the guns, let alone hurting anyone with them. In fact, having the guns around would have been perfectly legal had he not been growing marijuana.
Because he has refused to plea bargain (an option that has netted Williams’ coworkers sentences ranging from probation to five years), Williams has one hope left: a pardon from President Obama.
– Read the entire article at Reason Magazine.