In the proposed FY22 Financial Services and General Government spending bill, which includes provisions relating…
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“Rhode Island is an island of prohibition in a sea of legalization.”
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“This legislation recognizes that the responsible use of marijuana by adults should not be a crime, and that those who carry the stigma of a criminal record for their past use of cannabis should receive relief.”
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On September 27, 2006, the DEA raided California Healthcare Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Modesto that had been operating and paying taxes for more than a year. A 2007 Fresno Bee story revealed that the focus of the federally funded, Fresno-based Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and its chief Bill Ruzzamenti had shifted from methamphetamine to marijuana.
In a ceremony on January 18 of that year, then White House drug czar John Walters honored the state, local and federal officers who took down the California Healthcare Collective. Ruzzamenti nominated the Modesto police officers and others who received the “National Marijuana Initiative” awards. The Central Valley HIDTA’s goal had been “to reduce the manufacture, trafficking and distribution of methamphetamine, precursor chemicals and other dangerous drugs.” Over time, the Valley’s big meth labs decamped for Mexico—so agents have sought new targets.
CHC proprietors Ricardo Montes and Luke Scarmazzo, both 26, were found guilty of operating a “continuing criminal enterprise” in May 2008. On learning that the offense carried a mandatory 20-year minimum sentence, two jurors filed declarations with U.S. District Court in Fresno recanting their verdict, and lawyers sought a retrial.
Scarmazzo sentenced to 21 years and 10 months and Montes to 20 years. On January 5, 2011, a federal appeals court upheld the convictions of Scarmazzo and Montes, denying them a new trial. “We followed California law to the letter,” Scarmazzo stated. “We paid our taxes. We went to work every day providing a benefit and service to the community. Yet in the end, we were made out to look like common criminals.”
Ricardo Montes was granted clemency by President Obama and was released in May 2017. Unfortunately, and inexplicably, his co-defendant Scarmazzo’s petition was denied. In January 2021, Luke was denied release at the last minute by President Trump.
Luke posted on his Facebook page (1/27/21) that, “I have been in this quarantine unit in a federal penitentiary at Yazoo City, Mississippi for 91 days. When I arrived here prison officials lied and told me I’d only be here the standard 14 days. This, despite me being ‘COVID recovered’ in September 2020, with at least a temporary acquired natural immunity. I’m locked into my cell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Out of 168 hour week, I’m allowed out of my cell for 3 hours to take a shower and use the phone; the other 165 I’m in a concrete box. I haven’t felt the warm sun or inhaled a breath of fresh air in over 3 months. I’m fed enough to be kept alive and confined in frigid temperatures. And these are just a few of the blatant constitutional and human rights violations that I endure daily without just cause.”
Luke has served 14 years and isn’t scheduled for release until 2027. He is the last known federal medical marijuana prisoner from California. He currently has two appeals pending in court that could set #FreeLukeScarmazzo. Read more about Luke.
Luke Scarmazzo 63131-097
USP Yazoo City
PO BOX 5000
Yazoo City, MS 39194
Release date: 03/14/2027
The post Luke Scarmazzo, California’s Last Federal Medical Marijuana Prisoner appeared first on CANORML.
In reply to Debra N Holmes.
Debra:GOD BLESS YOU., VETERAN MAX
In reply to jeff jantz.
I understand 2000%, Im working on GETTING OFF METHADONE well all Pain Meds. Cannabis is helping..
Ive been saying for years.. bring back alcohol prohibition and see just how much those results go down. oh wait they wont they make to much money taxing it and for fines. I have not taken asprin, cough syrup, pills,pharmacuticals or any other substance other than marijuana since 1986 and am perfectly healthy
When it comes to Marijuana, the Government thinks that we are in Kindergarten and the people are too stupid to make right choices. The fact is, the Government is a Kindergarten full of immature childish kids.
My son sentenced to 15 years in prison $5 million restitution five-year probation took all his legally registered guns where he had his carry conceal license.. what you don’t even need anymore.. Best part with the story they want on bogus tips from someone busted with marijuana so he was making up all kinds of stories and lies so they raided my house at 33 years where my son didn’t even live thinking to find millions of dollars hundred pounds of marijuana scales to wear in money counters never had it never would have walked out empty-handed just are legally registered guns .. held for four years in a steel cage jail no bond The people that testified against him in court all got busted with large quantities of marijuana Tommy didn’t even have a seed so you see where this is going the prosecutor was as corrupt as you can get…We’ll see where this goes he has all his appeals I’m sure a law abiding constitutional panel of judges will see beyond this thank you
Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
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