The fate of Chris Williams, a principal partner in Montana Cannabis, a medical marijuana club which attempted to set a high standard for transparency and compliance, will be known tomorrow. Convicted at a perfunctory trial in which he was not allowed to introduce evidence of his compliance with Montana’s medical marijuana statute, Williams could potentially spend the rest of his life in federal prison.
While a de facto life sentence is possible, it isn’t likely. In the face of shifting political winds evidenced by unprecedented liberalization of pot policy in Washington and Colorado, federal prosecutors had offered to drop the worst of the charges as part of a rare post-conviction plea deal. Although, in a dramatic twist, Williams chose to reject the deal, prosecutors will probably still decline to press for harsh punishment, which could turn the handsome and entrepreneurial Williams into a sympathetic martyr for the broader legalization movement.
All cannabis reform advocates are urged to show their support Chris Williams for daring to assert his constitutional rights.