Widowed Cancer Survivor Could Lose Home to Marijuana Charges

Sep 29, 2009

Alabama, forfeiture, law enforcement, Medical Marijuana, victim

The federal law barring medical use of marijuana has already cost Mara Lynn Williams her husband, and may now cost her her home as well.

Williams, 56, said she had no idea her husband, Royce, was growing marijuana on their 40-acre property in Chilton County, Alabama until federal authorities raided their land and found 408 plants growing several hundred yards from their house.

Then in May, Royce Williams committed suicide, rather than serve a potentially lengthy prison sentence for the federal drug charges he was facing. His wife, who works as a nurse at a Montgomery hospital, said Royce smoked marijuana because it was the only medication that helped ease the chronic pain he suffered as a result of several surgeries.

Now the Montgomery Advertiser is reporting that the U.S. attorney’s office plans to seize the Williams’ property – including the house still occupied by Mara Lynn, who in 2003 was diagnosed with breast cancer that spread to her liver, lungs and bone, but is now in remission.

“It is not morally right,” the Advertiser quoted Mara Lynn Williams as saying. “My husband paid with his life. What else do they want?”

According to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, “[Royce Williams’] death, which ended the criminal case, had no effect on the ongoing civil case … The bottom line is, we don’t want people to benefit from criminal activity.”

Benefit? I suppose seeing her husband suffer a bit less because of the relief he got from medical marijuana might count as a benefit, but doesn’t driving him to suicide make up for that? Must she be made homeless, too – on top of losing more than $18,000 cash, vehicles, computers and other belongings the Advertiser says were seized by the Feds?

To help us change these cruel laws, go to MPP’s Federal Action Center.