Medical marijuana is sold throughout California. It seems to be the luck of the draw which sellers are prosecuted by the federal government. PHOTO: Reuters
Molly Davies, mother of two and wife of Matthew Davies, who was recently sentenced to ten years or more in prison for providing medical marijuana to patients in California, wrote a poignant letter to President Obama, spotlighting the ugly priorities of the disastrous War on Drugs.
Matthew Davies was in compliance with California law, where medical marijuana is legal, but not with federal law, where marijuana is a Schedule I drug, treated the same as heroin and cocaine. Molly Davies letter brings the realities of this conflict into sharp focus:
My questions to you are simple:
- What has my husband done that would justify the federal government forcing my young daughters to grow up without a father?
- How can your Administration ignore the will of the California people and prosecute this good, law-abiding man for doing exactly what state law permits?
Those two questions get to the heart of the matter: what good are federal agents doing here, and why is the Obama administration pursuing medical marijuana users so actively, when they are in compliance with state law? This arrest and sentence seems almost designed to make a brazen show of enforcing the law, despite the negative consequences. Now, an honest businessman, inspired by seeing his grandfather waste away when cancer took hold of him, with two daughters to raise, is going to prison for at least ten years. Molly Davies lays this out:
We are confused and absolutely terrified.
I remember when Matt first told me about his hopes of providing medical cannabis to patients. At first, I thought he was crazy. But, we talked about how his grandfather wasted away from cancer and was in so much pain at the end of his life, and how medical marijuana could have helped him. We also talked about how it is perfectly legal in California to use marijuana for medicinal purposes and to provide it to people who have been legally prescribed the medication.
Matt explained to me how he wanted to do things right--to pay taxes, to provide good jobs, and to reduce the price of medicine for patients.
But I was still worried. Even though California has legalized medical marijuana, I was afraid that the federal government could still come after him. Matt had thought this through as well. He showed me an official memo from your Department of Justice saying that the federal government has no interest in prosecuting folks for using and providing medical marijuana so long as they comply with their state's laws. Just like you told Barbara Walters last month, the federal government, it seemed to us, had "bigger fish to fry."
Obama has equivocated on the issue of marijuana since he took office. He makes noises about how marijuana users aren’t that big a deal, that he has “bigger fish to fry” (and that was when asked about Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana for recreational use!), yet his Department of Justice has treated medical marijuana sellers like Matthew Davies like criminals.
This is a travesty, especially because it could be ended easily, painlessly and with huge savings: end the war on drugs.
Read the full letter here.