Nine medical marijuana advocates drove 3,300 miles from California to Missoula, Mont. in a green-painted “CannaBus” to show their support for Chris Williams at his sentencing on Friday.
Judge Dana Christensen says Williams must serve five years for one charge of possession of a firearm in connection to drug trafficking. Christensen says Williams is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Williams, a medical marijuana provider, was originally found guilty in September on eight drug and firearm charges. His total time in prison would have amounted to 85 years, more than a life-sentence for someone who was guilty of no violent crime, and whose legal firearms were for protection only.
Williams took the case to trial and in December, prosecutors agreed to dismiss six of the charges as long as Williams waived his right to appeal the sentence of the last two charges. Even so, many of his supporters feel the punishment is too harsh. Some, of course, feel there should be no punishment at all, given state law in Montana.
Each of the nine self-named “Drug War Veterans” has been convicted of a federal drug charge or knows someone who has. They felt Williams was facing an unjust sentence, and came to the court to protest it and give their support in person. They follow cases like Williams’ and try to pack courtrooms with like minded supporters, knowing the trial and sentencing process is hard and exhausting, and shouldn’t be gone through alone.
They drove through Oregon to get to Montana in time for Williams’ sentencing and headed back Saturday.
UPDATE: Coburg Police on stopped the Cannabus Monday afternoon on I-105 in Eugene near Interstate 5. Someone on the bus was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.