Montana’s maximum penalty for distribution of dangerous drugs is life in prison and a $50,000 fine, so some may say that 27 year old Matthew Otto got lucky yesterday when he was sentenced to 20 years in the state penitentiary. What was his crime? From the Missoulian:
Otto had 3 grams of medical marijuana when he was arrested in November. Otto had a medical marijuana card, but was found guilty of passing the pipe filled with the drug to two passengers while driving down Reserve Street. An off-duty Missoula County sheriff’s detective saw and reported the incident.
Most likely Otto purchased an eighth ounce of medical cannabis from his caregiver (3.5 grams, approximately $30). He shared with his pair (of friends) but they were quickly arrested possessing a total of 3 grams. He shared about 2 bucks worth of medical cannabis after all, so I’m disappointed that 18 years of his sentence was suspended. I simply cannot feel safe knowing such a dangerous criminal will be out on the streets in two years, sharing his medicine with his pals.
And then there is Ms Dru Cederberg, the heir who shared. Dru is a Billings businesswoman (and heir to the Brach’s Confections fortune) who was convicted of “attempting to maintain a drug-involved premises.” She was given a couple of fines- totaling $550,000. Dru will spend 8 months on house arrest (in her $ 2 million home) and if she pays the fine within 30 days, the court will even waive the interest. I’m not condoning Ms. Cederburg’s drug use by any means, but using cocaine at dinner parties with friends doesn’t strike me as a serious crime. She didn’t sell it. She didn’t introduce it to children.
If Dru wasn’t wealthy, I doubt she’d have been been fined so heavily. Google “attempting to maintain a drug involved premises”… this story is listed in nearly all of the links on the first several pages. Sort of makes you wonder if anyone else has ever been charged with such a violation. Perhaps they couldn’t convict her on charges more serious.
It must be cases similar to these that convinced Montana’s legislature that the cannabis industry is so generous- generous enough to provide our services, products, and wisdom at no cost whatsoever to patients. All costs are absorbed by caregivers. If only the legislators would be so generous. Here are some suggestions: work for free. better yet, pay the state for the privilege of serving us. donate your $733 state paid health insurance premium to someone who can’t afford health insurance (Sponsor a Constituent).
The lesson of the day, kids: Sharing is highly overrated.