Article by Chris Roberts, High Times
No medical marijuana patient’s garden was too small for Asa Hutchinson. Under Hutchinson, who served as the administrator for the DEA under George W. Bush from August 2001 to January 2003, the nation’s drug cops raided cannabis grows with as few as six plants.
Once the windowsill-sized gardens were wiped out, their gardeners went to prison—even if they were demonstrably sick medical marijuana patients, and even if it required some legal trickery.
To trigger plant-count-based mandatory minimums, Justice Department prosecutors would add up the number of marijuana plants grown over a period of several years. This meant growers in California could be in constant compliance with state law, but if they grew 33 plants a year for three years or more, it meant prison time in a federal bust.
It was ugly, but it was a losing battle long since lost—and at last, everyone seems to be admitting it.
Eight years after leaving the DEA, Hutchinson told a university audience that sick people should be allowed whatever doctors recommend, “whether it is Marinol or marijuana or whatever.”
This fall, Hutchinson, now the Republican governor of Donald Trump-supporting Arkansas, opposed a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in his state—but it won anyway. Twenty-eight states now allow medical marijuana.
Since then, Hutchinson has kept up a pledge not to stand in the way and has signed into law the legislation required to put cannabis in Arkansas’ patients hands. Those bad old days of raids on tiny medical gardens? They’re over forever.