Medical Marijuana Raids

Montana's First Registered Medical Marijuana Caregiver Dies in Federal Prison


Richard Flor died in a Las Vegas Bureau of Prisons medical facility on Wednesday.

Flor, 68, was just a few months into a five-year prison sentence for running a Billings, Montana marijuana dispensary with his wife and son. Flor also co-owned Montana Cannabis, one of the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, and which was the subject of a March, 2011 federal raid.  Montana legalized medical cannabis in 2004, but that doesn't matter under federal law.

Flor's wife got two years in prison for bookkeeping, and his son got five years for running the Billings dispensary. These were pleas entered and settled before the Department of Justice (DOJ) could make sure that medical marijuana went unmentioned in the court room. (More about the debate over mentioning the state legality of marijuana in court defenses can be found here and here.)


US District Court Judge Charles Lovell sentenced Flor to years in federal prison despite testimony that he was suffering from a variety of illnesses, including dementia, diabetes, hepatitis C, and osteoporosis. Lovell did recommend that Flor "be designated for incarceration at a federal medical center" where his "numerous physical and mental diseases and conditions can be evaluated and treated."

The Great Falls Tribune confirms this list of ailments and notes:

Last month, [Flor's attorney Brad] Arndorfer filed a motion requesting the court release Flor pending an appeal of his sentence due to health concerns. Arndorfer's brief supporting the motion detailed how Flor suffered from severe osteoporosis and on multiple occasions while in custody, Flor had fallen out of bed breaking his ribs, his clavicle and his cervical bones as well as injuring vertebrae in his spine. Flor also suffered from dementia, diabetes and kidney failure among other ailments, Arndorfer said.

"He is in extreme pain and still is not being given round-the-clock care as is required for someone with his medical and mental conditions," Arndorfer wrote in his brief to the court. "It is anticipated he will not long survive general population incarceration."

In his Aug. 7 order denying the motion, Lovell wrote that it was unfortunate the Flor had not yet been transferred to an appropriate medical facility but that the concerns detailed in the motion were "not factually or legally significant."

Lovell wrote that the federal Bureau of Prisons could provide the necessary medical care and that recent tests found kidney dialysis wasn't needed, despite the fact that a year earlier a VA health care provider discussed with Flor the possibility that he might need dialysis in the future.

Lovell wrote that "defendant has no such present need."

In a statement released by his staff, Lovell said he was sorry to learn of Flor's death but that judicial ethics prevented him from commenting further.

Flor had numerous, serious medical problems, so it's hard to know how much longer he would have lived, but being in prison sure shortened his life and diminished its quality. Thanks to the DOJ, the man got to spend his last months of life in in a cage, with his wife and son suffering the same, so they didn't get a chance to say goodbye to him. His daughter, however, was at his side when he passed and said of her father's months in custody, "they didn't give him any of the medical attention he needed, and they never took him once to a medical doctor." Arndorfer is considering a lawsuit against the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons, saying that Flor's complains about kidney pain were ignored.

Meanwhile, the other co-owners of Montana Cannabis go to trial in September.

This is Obama and the DOJ's don't call it a war, drug war; just as callous as the real thing.

Previous Reason reports on medical marijuana in Montana.

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  1. In a statement released by his staff, Lovell said he was sorry to learn of Flor’s death but that judicial ethics prevented him from commenting further.

    Well as long as there are ethics in there somewhere.

    1. “I’m talkin’ about friendship. I’m talkin’ about character. I’m talkin’ about–hell, Leo, I ain’t embarrassed to use the word–I’m talkin’ about ethics.”

    2. “I killed this guy and don’t have any good excuse to offer.”

  2. Just as it should be. Anyone who would so flagrantly violate America’s laws and America’s minds with illegal substances deserves no pity. The important takeaway from this is that this man did something that the government did not approve of — and do you really want to live in a country where people can do things that their government and their neighbors don’t want them to do?

    The law is the law.

    1. [D]o you really want to live in a country where people can do things that their government and their neighbors don’t want them to do?

      Actually his neighbors did approve of the things he was doing. They voted for legalized medical marijuana.

      1. That just means that the pothead vote was unnaturally strong that election.

        Do you know for sure that there weren’t any innocent children or clean living adults in his proximity who weren’t repulsed by the man?

        The confirmed number of dupes and Flor’s fellow degenerates only serves to reveal the extent of the problem.

        1. You are one sick prohibitionist. “innocent children” “clean living adults” You are one sick prohibitionist. Go get an education and grow up.

        2. What? The newcomers weren’t issued sarcasm meters when they entered HR?

          1. Of course not. The plebes have to buy their own damn sarcasm detector.

            1. Don’t be too hard on people with broken sarcasm meters. My irony meter pegged out a loooong time ago.

    2. And so, if you speed on the highway you should be put to death? Ignorance is shameful.


    Oh look at that… nominated by Reagan. His legacy lives on.

  4. The only takeaway from this is the already known fact that many people are absolutely callous automatons, or even worse, actively cruel sadists, and they happen to populate our “judicial” system.

    Create positions of power and the worst possible people will gravitate to them. Always.

    1. I can’t hang out with you guys right now because I am burning down Washington DC.

      1. Why the fuck not? We’re approaching the bicentennial of the last time it happened! 200 years is too long for that place to remain unburnt.

        1. How about a highly realistic reenactment? This Canadian is willing to pitch in. I’ll even put on a red coat.

      2. Don’t sweat it, Lucy, what you’re doing is far more important.

        1. Idle threats/daydreams.

          See, going to prison because I am mad about prison is not going to help matters.

          1. Arson is a victimless crime, Lucy. Everyone knows that.

      3. Can you wait a couple of months Lucy? It’s still pretty darn hot in the Metro area and the last thing we need is a fire.

  5. This makes me sick, I wish I could get some medical marijuana to treat it, without jeapordizing some poor bastard to life in prison.

    Thanks Mr. Hopey Changey!

  6. march 2011 federal raid?

    but obama said he would stop the raids!?!?!?!

    you mean he lied?

    lots of reasonoids even believed his bullshit!!!

    after all, everybody knows the democratic party is sooooo much better on war on drugs!!! just look at obama !

    1. I think Reason has pretty much solidified its stance on Obama, Holder, and Kerlikowske and how terrible they are on drugs.

      1. agreed. just sad that people here (many) actually believed his bullshit when he spouted it

        kerlikowske was a piece of shit when he was here in seattle so i expected nothing better from him in DC

        1. I don’t blame people for hoping for a slight improvement with Obama, but it sure wasn’t enough for me to vote for him.

          Government: hope for milometers of improvement, assume it’ll get miles worse.

    2. We don’t need to be too concerned, because people like Richard Flor are the sorts of people Obama will be able to pardon once he no longer has to worry about re-election.

  7. Come on Colorado and Washington State! I really want to see what the federal prohibitionists will do when it is legal under state law for the 5 million residents of Colorado and the nearly 7 million in Washington state to freely consume cannabis. With no obvious centralized targets like doctors, dispensaries, or their landlords to go after, I wonder what they’ll turn to next.

    Of course, I might not want to know the answer to that question…

    1. as a WA LEO, i say let’s get this MJ legalization passed and LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN!!!

      as for the feds? molon fucking labe boys!

  8. During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich criminals and corrupt politicians. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education, etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

    Prohibition causes massive crime and suffering, causes government/police corruption, causes America to have the highest prison population of any country in the history of the planet, causes Americans to lose all their rights and all their true core-values, causes the waste of trillions in taxpayer dollars, causes wars, violence and death (at home and abroad), perpetuates racism, causes America to be hated by other countries, and funds both criminals and terrorists.

    For God’s sake wake up! The prisons are bursting, the police are corrupt, most of us are not even safe in our own homes anymore, while the whole country/planet is on the verge of a total social and financial collapse.

  9. You can’t fix stupid: we must face the face that the vast majority of
    the politicians we are offered as “electable choices” are really, really stupid.

    You can’t fix a rigged system, either — at least, not by playing the rigged system’s rules.

    But the final nail in our coffin is that you can’t rouse the apathetic. And that, more than anything else, describes the vast majority of this country’s citizens.

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