Man Gets 80 Years In Prison For Growing Medical Marijuana

An op-doc about medical marijuana released by the New York Times tells the sad story of Chris Williams, who obeyed the laws of his state, but not his country, and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

Chris Williams is a Montanan who started a medical marijuana grow-up after Montana legalized medical marijuana in . Now, due to our schizophrenic drug policy, in which marijuana is legal for medical use in 18 states plus Washington D.C. and for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, but illegal federally, Williams will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. In an op-doc published by the New York Times, filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen examines his sad story:

“After the raid, it was really hard for my son continuing school…. The most grim thing I could think of would be my son having to go in state care.”

That seems inevitable now. Williams went to court, where he received a mandatory minimum sentence of 80 years in prison. Cohen compares that to Jerry Sandusky, who received 30 years for raping young boys. “The outcome is sad,” writes Cohen, “but it is also morally repugnant.”

Williams’ story is a harrowing reminder of the casualties of the drug war, and how they aren’t always gang-backed kingpins. The United States needs a coherent drug policy or there will be many more sad stories like Chris Williams' tale, and most will go untold.

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