Another Victim of the Government’s War on Marijuana

Jan 14, 2013 , , , , , , , ,

Matthew Davies

Today’s New York Times includes a feature story about California medical marijuana provider Matthew Davies, who federal prosecutors are pressuring to accept a five-year mandatory minimum as a plea agreement. Federal authorities indicted Matthew last year on charges of marijuana cultivation, calling him “one of the most significant commercial marijuana traffickers to be prosecuted in this district.” By all accounts, the two dispensaries Matthew owned were in total compliance with state law and were models of professionalism and service.

He brought graduate-level business skills to a world decidedly operating in the shadows. He hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm. He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits.

“This is not a case of an illicit drug ring under the guise of medical marijuana,” [his attorney] wrote. “Here, marijuana was provided to qualified adult patients with a medical recommendation from a licensed physician. Records were kept, proceeds were tracked, payroll and sales taxes were duly paid.”

Does this sound like a dangerous criminal who we should spend federal resources to arrest, prosecute, and possibly jail? Medical marijuana providers who followed state law, like Matthew, weren’t supposed to be the targets of federal attack and provide an excellent example for others in the industry. Nevertheless, he is facing a significant amount of time in jail regardless of whether he takes the plea, which will surely take a serious toll on him and his family.

“To be looking at 15 years of our life, you couldn’t pay me enough to give that up,” Mr. Davies said at the dining room table in his two-story home along the San Joaquin River Delta, referring to the amount of time he could potentially serve in prison.

Matthew and his family are not taking this lying down. Matthew’s wife Molly published this open letter to President Obama today in the Huffington Post. You can find out more about Matthew’s case and how you can help at

19 responses to “Another Victim of the Government’s War on Marijuana”

  1. Matthew and Molly. I have been in your shoes. Google ” Les and Cheryl Mooring”. Do not give up, loose faith or stop knowing the world is on your side.


    The use of medicine to treat illness and disease is a Human Right…Human rights are either recognized or denied…Power concedes nothing without a demand…As for me,I demand the right to use marijuana.
    Stand up for your rights or continue to lick Corporate boot? We are many,they are few!
    Eric K. Johnson

  3. Marijuana is legal!… It’s legal in Colorado and Washington…What is the legal status of prisoners(in Co.&WA.) being held in jails and prisons for small amounts of marijuana?…former marijuana criminals who are currently incarcerated due to parole violations for the legal use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington?
    Should not these people be immediately released?
    If every person who uses marijuana and those who do not support the ongoing irrational prohibition of marijuana placed a sign in their yard or in their window stating, “Marijuana is legal”, prohibition would collapse immediately?
    Marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington,why isn’t it legal in your State?
    Are we Citizens who live in States where marijuana possession is still wrongfully considered illegal being equally protected under the law?…or being discriminated against?
    Signs, T-shirts, bumper stickers are inexpensive and cannot be censored…A revolution only requires a change of mind plus the courage to peacefully express that change!
    “Marijuana is legal”
    Eric K. Johnson

  4. Brief History of the War on Drugs (inc. Marijuana)

    Nixon declares war, because drugs (inc. marijuana) alledgedly cause you to lose touch with reality…

    Some 4o+ years pass…

    There is no logical reason to devote a single penny of scarce government resources to attack this man and his legal business. To claim there is seems to be indicative of a state of loss of touch with reality.

    Today, it is the “drug warriors” who have lost all touch with reality. Does that mean we make war on _them_? No, simply send them home in disgrace.

    Meanwhile, in clearcut votes when asked if they want to continue the war on marijuana, voters reject a policy that was NEVER put to popular vote in the first place. Survey’s indicate this is not a fluke, but a reality that politicians need to get on the right side of or risk the wrath of voters increasingly incensed with general government incompetence. Hello, remember this is a democracy.

    War is over.

    There will be no giant horde of dope-crazed boogey-men who will descend on our society if marijuana was legalized. Those who want marijuana for whatever reason already get it. All the craziness is already out there — and civilization has hardly fallen, indeed has hardly noticed. Maybe it’s because marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol? Maybe it’s because the lies told about marijuana users are simply the sort of fables ignorant people believe? Maybe because the reality is our society would be far better off if marijuana were the intoxicant of choice?

    War is over.

  5. Best of luck. If it gets to that point, go for a jury trial & do everything you can to get the news out about Jury Nullification & hope you get some jurors willing to use that power. I will pray for this unjust case to be dropped.

  6. Students enrolled in People Power and the Media class at Columbia College Chicago were given the opportunity to research a topic and to share their opinion in the public domain via blog and podcast. The topic selected was the controversial medical marijuana dispensaries in California and the clash between state and federal drug laws.
    This is their blog:
    The investigation of business owner, Matthew Davies, began in September of 2011 after a routine traffic stop where Davies was pulled over for speeding. From there, Davies told the officer he was responding to an alarm at his medical marijuana warehouse. This was just one incident in the chain of events that led up to Davies’ arrest even though he was allegedly following the California state law for his medical marijuana dispensary. He is now facing a minimum of ten years in prison after being indicted by the Federal Government. This situation is very unfortunate for something that is so unclear. California exercised the state’s reserved power to not punish medical marijuana users and distributers when recommended by a doctor, so they are not in any violation with the Federal Controlled Substance Act.
    The Federal Controlled Substance Act deemed marijuana, as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use,” however, there is research available proving otherwise. The University of California, San Francisco, conducted studies in December of 2011 where inhaling cannabis reduces pain significantly and can reduce the medical side effects including nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite from heavy medication such as morphine and oxycodone.

    It’s also understood that the Federal Government has the right to overrule any state law that contradicts Federal law due to the “Supremacy law,” which is Article VI, Clause 2, of the United States Constitution. However, the mere fact that the Federal Government’s stance on the use and distribution of medical marijuana being far different than the state of California’s stance needs to be addressed, ASAP.
    In the early days of the Obama Administration, Attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr., announced that medical marijuana users and caregivers would not be targeted, according to a Washington Post article in 2009. California voters approved the sale of medicinal marijuana according to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. What makes this unclear is that Federal law should not be able to “trump” state law – it is a separate jurisdiction. According to the New York Times, the Federal Government could sue the states on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by Federal law, but such a severe response could raise complications for the Obama Administration.

    It is sensible for the Federal Government to get involved if and when medical marijuana dispensaries are operating illegally. If the Federal Government sees the distribution of selling medical marijuana illegal, they need to address the businesses doing it illegally rather than raiding the dispensaries of professional doctors and managers. It is undeniable that time and money would have been better spent if the Government shut down the dispensaries throughout California that were selling marijuana illegally to minors and non-patients. With that said, Matthew Davies was the operator of a legally owned dispensary and is therefore being unlawfully prosecuted. Our call to action is that the Federal Government needs to find an equal balance with state laws in order to prevent innocent people from being wrongly accused.
    Margaret, Emily, Jessica, Ramon, Kyra, Ashleigh, Bridget, and Molly, members of the People Power in the Media course taught by Hope Daniels, Associate Professor/Teaching Fellow, School of Media Arts, Columbia College Chicago.

  7. All kidding aside, a rich kid took a risk. That’s what’s up. I never made a dime being a brownie-Mary type, took the risks, did some time. People with money can look State law in the eye, and say ‘no street risk?’ Really?

  8. The real criminals are in Washington, D.C. The fact they are allowed to walk the streets at night is a fairly clear indicator Americans have given up caring what happens there.

  9. “We Have Bigger Fish to Fry” Barrack Obama.

    A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape. Prov 19:5

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