On Monday, Bryan Epis (left) was taken into custody to serve the remainder of his 10 year sentence. Despite an order from the U.S. Deputy Attorney General to federal prosecutors to stop wasting resources by focusing on medical marijuana patients and providers, Mr. Epis will spend the next 7 years in federal prison.
Mr. Epis was arrested, investigated, tried, sentenced, imprisoned, retried, and resentenced over the past 12 years. In that length of time, medical marijuana advocates have forged ahead with state-based victories across the country; meanwhile, federal law has remained unchanged and federal policy is creeping forward at a snail’s pace.
Federal policy, according to the headlines, has changed for the better, but consider this: while roughly a quarter of our nation’s population lives in a state that recognizes the medical value of cannabis, there are over 100 federal defendants who are currently facing pending charges.
In addition, the complacency driven by incomplete, inaccurate reporting and coverage of federal policy just fuels the fire. Federal lawmakers no longer feel a sense of urgency, due in part to the memo from the U.S. Deputy Attorney General, and due in part to promises made by U.S. Attorney General Holder. Mr. Epis’ imprisonment highlights that this fight is nowhere near over, and the raids on laboratories in Colorado make it clear that while the tactics and targets may be changing, federal policy is FAR from changed.
Take your outrage & fear and turn them into action. Call your U.S. Representative’s office to urge his or her co-sponsorship of H.R. 3939, The Truth in Trials Act. You can reach the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. For ideas about what to say when you call, check out ASA’s Action page (and send an email while you’re there!).