A Life Sentence… For Pot?

In March of 2011, federal agents in hazmat suits — guns brandished and sirens blaring — raided dozens of marijuana greenhouses and dispensaries in Montana, and arrested citizens who were growing pot in accordance with the state’s medical marijuana law. It all happened without warning — unlike in California and other states where fair notice, and lead time, was given to folks so they could close up shop. The timing of the raids was highly suspicious. They took place on the very day — the very hour, in fact — that the Montana Legislature was holding a much-anticipated hearing on how to tweak the medical marijuana statute, so as to cut down on recreational use and sham prescriptions, and also to clarify several parts of the law that were ambiguous.

The top federal prosecutor in Montana — Mike Cotter, the U.S. attorney appointed by President Obama in 2009 — then charged the growers, their greenhouse workers, their bookkeepers, some of their spouses, and even their landlords who had simply provided buildings to the growers with decades in prison and in some cases virtual life sentences, all under federal drug trafficking statutes.

Now Cotter is breaking his silence and speaking publicly, for the first time, about his two-year crusade to shutter the medical marijuana industry and put its practitioners behind bars, in many cases for life sentences. And he is mincing no words. He says that pot has no medical value at all, for anyone, and that if you think otherwise, you are a sucker who has been duped “by slick Madison Avenue marketing” employed by pot dealers. He says pot is a dangerous drug and growing it is a federal crime that must be punished.

The opposite of what doctors have long believed about the benefits of marijuana for many patients, these comments go a long way in explaining much of what happened in Montana over the last two years.

When Cotter charged these citizens in 2011, he gave no credence to a very basic protest that they all made: they’d been assured in writing, by Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general, that they could grow medical marijuana and the feds wouldn’t prosecute them.

– Read the entire article at Salon Magazine.



  1. Anonymous on

    exactly right there. someone should throw that jigger in jail and lock away the key

  2. gutrod on

    I thought we had some cement heads up here in Canada playing Sheriff. I beg to differ on your statement that pot is a dangerous drug with no medicinal value. Mike, you don’t look like a doctor or scientist. Show us the proof. Show us even one body. Government propaganda has no limits to arrogance and ignorance. Bulling the mostly harmless cannabis medicinal community is like taking candy from a baby. Not nearly as dangerous as arresting crack and meth dealers or gangsta’s. On a religious crusade. Religion and power can be more dangerous than any drug least of all pot.

  3. gstlab3 on

    a twenty cent bullet is what this guy deserves.

  4. Anonymous on

    He looks like he needs a drink.

  5. Anonymous on

    He looks like he needs a drink.

  6. Anonymous on

    I think he never found his long lost sister by the name HAG,,, if you see what I mean.

  7. Bhonze on

    It’s kind of ironic how this guy is doing the exact opposite of what Marc was doing. Marc got busted for selling seeds to fund the end of prohibition and this guy is using every thing he has to maintain prohibition but he can walk free. Cotter is a traitor because this is a democracy and he is a DICKtator and does not follow the will of the people! Put his ass in JAIL!

  8. Mrs. Ratsrectum on

    This guy is so behind the times, but then so are Haag and Leonhart. Don’t their jobs suck, doing something a majority of Americans don’t want them to do?! The facts are irrelevant when you argue the law and the law is Not based on the facts. Is this guy from Montana, or is he some carpetbagger the feds stationed there for a 4-year assignment or tour of duty he got orders for? He’s acting like he’s not from the community, and has no vested interest in the community, and has no respect for the will of the voters in his neck of the woods. Looks like another prohibitionist federal clone like most of the others. Kerlikowske, from Florida, went to Seattle, now in D.C.. probably will retire in the Sun Belt. These prohibitionists are like poison ivy vines growing out from Washington, D.C. They’re definitely where we don’t want them. Too bad they can’t completely mess up their investigations consistently so they’re just going through the motions. Just give up taking your jobs seriously!

  9. Anonymous on

    I would love to see someone beat that man, then while hes crying in pain force him to smoke a fucking joint and then say it has no medical value. We’ve been passive about this for far too long.

  10. Anonymous UK on

    Mike Cotter will say anything (no matter how ridiculous or untrue) to defend the size of his department and budget. This seems to be the case with all government departments – they will not cut their size or spending even if they know the money is being wasted. In government there is no reward for success (since they claim everything is a success) and no punishment for failure (they usually blame the previous administration). The only things they have are how much money they spend, how many people work for them and how much power they have over peoples’ lives. This system needs to change and marijuana prohibition just highlights how dysfunctional our society’s system of government really is.

  11. Anonymous on

    How much money is he being paid by the drug companies to make these statements? Sounds like he’s done lots of research. He’s a dick wacker and a bought one at that, just like most of the rest of America’s government.

  12. Bud Grinder on

    Looks more like a pedophile to me.

  13. Bud Grinder on

    Mike Cotter is an ignorant, mindless sack of shit. He should be strung up by his balls (if he has any), then tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

  14. Anonymous on

    Sooo crazy how they can even think about charging someone with decades in prison on what im thinking is their first charge for growing medical marijuana legally in their home state. Its just tragic, please try to keep us informed on this story I bet a lot of us would like to keep up to date! Thanks for all the news cannabisculture

  15. Anonymous on

    Take a close look at Mike Cotter’s face–he looks like an alcohol abuser.

  16. Anonymous on

    Take a close look at Mike Cotter’s face–he looks like an alcohol abuser.

  17. Anonymous on

    Take a close look at Mike Cotter’s face–he looks like an alcohol abuser.