Montana Medical Marijuana Grower Will Receive a Minimum Sentence of Five Years

Chris Williams, a medical marijuana grower from Montana, faces at least five years in federal prison after being caught up in a March 2011 federal raid on 26 dispensaries throughout the state.

Montana voters passed an initiative in 2004 allowing distribution for medical needs, but marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Due to previous policies announced by the Obama Administration that federal resources would not focus on individuals operating within state law, Williams and his associates believed their medical marijuana business, “Montana Cannabis,” was in the legal clear. But after complaints from local citizens who could see marijuana plants being grown in greenhouses, the federal government decided to crack down.

Though Williams reportedly never handled them himself, several firearms were also found during the raid on Montana Cannabis. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Taggard reasoned the weapons were used to protect the business’ operation — though Williams’ lawyer, Michael Donahoe, said they were the individual possessions of the other employees — and as a result charges of possessing a firearm in the furtherance of drug trafficking were added to the initial drug trafficking charges. The combined effect brought the total mandatory minimum sentence Williams was facing to over 80 years.

Eventually, the government proposed a deal reducing Williams’ minimum to 10 years in exchange for waiving his right to appeal. Williams initially refused the offer. But when a new deal was put forward in December of 2012, reducing the minimum to 5 years, Williams relented. He said his primary concern was for his 16-year-old son, a freshman at Montana State University: The new minimum holds out at least the possibility that Williams will be out of jail in time to attend his son’s college graduation.

– Read the entire article at Think Progress.



  1. Anonymous on

    This is a fucking travesty of justice. This man has not broken any laws.

  2. gutrod on

    America the good: all peaceniks who us m.j. for medicine or recreation who are civil and non violent.

    America the bad: 21st century Drug laws and the NRA.

    America the ugly: Robo cops running amok with large assault weapons carrying out the dirty work of the government. Let’s not forget their penal system which should be subject to the laws of humanity, not some papers written into law by paranoid politicians a half of century ago. The world has changed a lot since those days but not drug laws of the so called free world. America: the worlds enforcer of human rights and one of it’s worst offenders. Shame on you.

  3. Anonymous UK on

    What the f@@k is going on ? Just because some one can see marijuana plants growing through a greenhouse window does not really give any kind of justification for a crackdown. Seeing the plant does no harm to any one. You would have to be some kind of maniac to complain about this anyway.

    Chris Williams is decent business man who took up his constitutional right to bear arms to protect his business. If he was peddling alcohol (which is a dangerous, addictive poison) no one would complain about liquor bottles being on view through the windows or doorway as they passed his store and he would not get 5 years in prison for protecting his store with firearms.

  4. gutrod on

    Chris Williams is just another dog kicked down by the biggest bully of the them all.
    Uncle Sam and his hired guns. 5 years for what? Providing a valuable service and making an honest living while protecting himself & his family from someone robbing him with assault rifles which is now the norm. The rules and laws of the federal government are unfair and unjust. This is not the freedom and justice that Americans have died in wars for. Williams is an American hero just like Marc Emery is a war hero. Wars produce martyrs.
    Bob Dylan: A change It is Coming.