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article imageOp-Ed: Federal judges are imprisoning and killing cannabis patients

By Ben Morris     Jul 9, 2014 in Politics
Davenport - In the fight to legalize cannabis, millions of Americans have become civil disobedients in order to medicate their illness. Those people are at risk to feel the cold back hand of state, whose federal judges deny them the right to fair trial.
Benton MacKenzie is facing five years in jail. He is not a thief, a rapist, or a fraud. He is a man who grew marijuana to treat his terminal cancer. If he is convicted of manufacturing, and conspiracy charges, he will die in jail for a "crime," that should be completely legal.
Like many others before him, facing federal judges, McKenzie is not allowed to mention he uses cannabis for medicinal purposes in his defense. Scott County District Judge Henry Latham ruled against allow the defense by claiming “The court is not aware of any legislation or been provided with any legislation which provides for such defense." The judge has used the federal stance on medical marijuana to prevent a man from defending himself. When the federal government refuses to acknowledge millions of Americans use cannabis to treat their diseases and ailments, judges use the lack of legal standing to punish sick Americans who use state laws to their advantage.
Sadly, MacKenzie is not alone. Federal judges have refused to allow medical marijuana patients to use medical defense in many other cases.
In Washington State, where cannabis is legal for medical, and recreational purposes, an entire family was robbed of the chance to use the medical cannabis defense in their federal case.
Larry Harvey, his wife Rhonda Firestack-Harvey,his son Rolland Gregg, ; Gregg's wife Michelle, and Jason Zucker, cultivated marijuana for personal use to deal with their ailments. Since they owned firearms in a rural community full of wildlife, they received harsher charges. Each defendant was charged with six felonies, including the charge of using a fireman for drug trafficking. U.S Attorney Michael Ormsby, argued the fact that the five used cannabis for medical needs should be inadmissible in court, and Judge Fred Van Sickle agreed. The five each face up to 40 years in prison, and can end up like Richard Flor.
The Vietnam vet provided medical cannabis to the people of Montana for six years until he was raided by the DEA. Flor and his son Jason were sent to jail for five years. His wife was sentenced to two years. As soon as he was sent to prison, Flor's health deteriorated. Awaiting his transfer to a medical facility, Flor suffered two heart attacks, and passed away. Shackles stayed on his ankles twenty minutes after his death.
As Americans for Safe Access noted, United States v. Booker ruled that federal sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory in cases like the ones noted above, but since the federal government raids medical marijuana clinics, and arrests providers and users of medical cannabis on their backwards view that cannabis is a dangerous, non medicinal drug like heroin, and cocaine, many judges use those guidelines to rob defendants of their completely justifiable defense.
Despite millions of Americans using cannabis for medical purposes, and despite the medical studies that show the medicinal uses of cannabis, the federal government insists cannabis is not medicine.
The blatant ignorance by Washington in regards to medical cannabis is costing Americans, freedom, and their lives. President Obama and his predecessors have committed manslaughter by allowing men like Flor, and Peter McWilliams die. Those men were cruelly denied their medicine, and lost their lives because of it.
Medical cannabis users, who have tried sometimes dozens of pharmaceutical drugs risk unjust imprisonment, and death at the hands of politicians who cash checks from big pharma to lock cannabis users in a cell to slowly wither away.
By charging, and preventing a medical cannabis patient from using a medical defense, federal judges are practicing cruel injustice.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Medical Marijuana, benton mackenzie, larry harvey, Dea, federal drug policy
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