Chris Williams, a former medical cannabis provider in Montana, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.
Williams, who was indicted by the feds on charges that could of put him in prison for life, ended up being convicted of eight charges after a September trial in which he was not allowed to use Montana’s medical cannabis law as a defense (a real “fair trial”).
Initially, Williams faced a mandatory sentence of more than 80 years in prison.
Unwilling to accept an initial plea, Williams went to trial in a case that made national attention, including the formation of a Change.org petition that garnered nearly 30,000 signatures, forcing the White House to respond (though of course their response was less than satisfactory).
It also led to the formation of a national campaign – Free Chris Williams -to bring attention to his case, and to work towards getting him a pardon. According to their campaign:
Chris Williams is a caregiver not a criminal! He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years to LIFE IN PRISON for providing cannabis to terminally ill and disabled patients in accordance with Montana law.
On September 27, 2012, Chris was found guilty of eight felony charges including conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute marijuana. He co-owned Montana Cannabis along with three others, managing the company’s greenhouse in Helena. The business was destroyed along with dozens of others throughout Montana in a well-coordinated, one-day sweep in March 2011. One of Chris’s business partners died in federal custody after receiving a five-year prison sentence, while the others were given probation in exchange for their “substantial assistance” in the federal investigation(s).
After his trial, Chris was offered two highly-unusual, post-conviction compromises by the U.S. Government. The latest settlement offer, which he reluctantly accepted, dismissed six of the convictions. Chris now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years to LIFE IN PRISON for the remaining two convictions. Sentencing is set for February 1, 2013.
Today during the mentioned sentencing, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen accepted the recommendation of Chris Williams‘ attorney and sentenced him to to five years.
Activists will continue to bring attention to his case in hopes of a presidential pardon.