In January, Pierre Werner, who ran a Boulder dispensary under the name Dr. Reefer, was indicted in Nevada on multiple marijuana counts -- as were his mother and brother. All three have now signed plea agreements, but Werner is asking patients and advocates to write letters to the judge on his behalf in a bid to lower a potential 41-51 month sentence to probation.
Werner was released from jail several weeks ago following three months behind bars after his mom paid his $100,000 bond (the Las Vegas Journal-Review reports that she put up two homes as collateral). Right now, he says, there's no sentencing date set because two other people charged along with him and his family members have yet to agree to a plea deal. Once they do, a hearing will be scheduled, with sentencing ninety days later.
But while he's accepted a potential three-year-plus jolt, in part because the pact gives his mother and brother probation, he points out that this is merely a recommendation, and the judge can impose less time. He thinks probation is appropriate, despite two prior jail stints pertaining to marijuana, because he focused on pot as medicine, as he did in Colorado before rules against former felons owning dispensaries forced him out of business here.
"I'm in the same mess as Chris Bartkowicz was," he says, referencing the Highlands Ranch medical marijuana grower arrested in 2010 and charged federally. A judge later ruled Bartkowicz couldn't use Colorado MMJ rules as a defense, leading to a five-year prison sentence in January.
Advocates fear such prosecutions could become more prevalent given a recent letter from U.S. Attorney John Walsh threatening federal action against the State of Colorado if portions of HB 1043, a bill intended to clean up aspects of medical marijuana regulations passed last year appeared in the final legislation.
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"This is no game with the federal government," Werner stresses. "Federal law has got to change."
In the meantime, Werner hopes former patients in Colorado and beyond will speak out in his defense. Here's his letter asking for assistance:
Marijuana Deals Near You
We are asking our patients to please write a letter of leniency on our behalf. On January 6, 2011, My family and I were arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. As a result we have signed a plea agreement with the federal government that calls for probation for Reyna Barnett (my mother) and Clyde Barnett (my brother), however Pierre Werner's guidelines call for 41-51 months in prison. We helped hundreds of patients navigate Nevada's complicated Medical Marijuana laws. Please take a few minutes and write a letter using following the format of the reference letter outline. Please address your letter To The Honorable Judge Phillip Pro.
Character reference Letter -- Outline
To The Honorable Judge Phillip Pro:
Paragraph 1: Introductory paragraph explaining who you are and reason for writing (in support of leniency for Pierre Werner)
Paragraph 2: Long paragraph outlining your contacts, friendship, acquaintance, history, etc. with him; duration of acquaintance; relationship to Pierre and/or his family.
Paragraph 3: You opinion, based on facts, regarding Pierre's character, setting forth his virtues; for example: trustworthy, honest, intelligent, law-abiding, family-oriented, job-oriented, etc.
Paragraph 4: Your recommendation that Pierre be treated with leniency, based on mitigating factors know to you: his non-criminal nature; good character; sincerity of beliefs, etc.
Please include your name, address and telephone number.
Please send your letters to:
Pierre Werner 7775 Clearwood Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89123 702-428-1099
Thank You and God Bless.
Pierre Werner Dr. Reefer
More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana coverage: Latest hysteria over... fake IDs?"