Pedersen & Niehouse: Felony Case Resolution

Written by Mark Pedersen

Written by Mark Pedersen

August 4, 2020

This article was originally published on April 14th, 2018 on the Medical Cannabis Journal Website.

I’m sorry for the delay in getting this out to you’all. Ron and I were exhausted and mentally and emotionally fried after the whirlwind of the last few days. For the better part of two years, we have existed within the fear of an uncertain and terrible future. Five felonies is not a slap on the wrist. The Jefferson County DA’s office was seeking to make an example of us. We were being portrayed as organized crime. These were nothing short of racketeering charges. 

What we were up against
The clinchers, as they have been, from the beginning of all of this, were the two felonies that carried 32 year maximum sentences – with 8 year mandatory minimums.. but with a potential of 64 years! If we were to be convicted of even one, our lives would have ended. 
For Ron, that would have meant leaving his mother alone to face an uncertain future in her struggle with cancer, perhaps never to see her again, and abandoning the business that supported their family. After a lengthy and terrible sentence, he would return home alone, and would have lost literally everything.
For me, with my rapidly declining health, this represented a life sentence, (or perhaps more correctly, a death sentence). 

There was a strong possibility that with the jury trial, we could have won. But if the jury would have left us with even 2 of the LESSER charges, we could have faced as much as 12 years in concurrent sentences. With a very conservative community like Jefferson County (Colorado) to draw for a jury, the chances of getting a complete dismissal seemed dicey at best. This past week, we faced a deadline. The door was closing on taking the one and only offer from the DA’s office. It seemed initially to be a sellout. To be a felon would mean conceding to being criminals. Being forced to confess that freely providing counsel and life-preserving cannabis oil to the terminally ill was nothing more than a crime.

I’m ashamed at the thought of being called a criminal. Coming to the realization that I broke the law further enhances the shame. Honestly, i thought my work exemplified the purpose of Amendment 20. But the state of Colorado doesn’t see it that way. Until the shame and bigotry is washed away with REAL legalization, we will all be nothing more than criminals in the eyes of the powers that be. 
What does it mean for Ron and I moving forward? Hence forth, we will be felons. We face three years probation. We will never again be able to own a firearm. (I gave up mine over ten years ago when I began this journey). We cannot drink alcohol for the duration of probation. We both consider that one a healthy challenge. We have to abide by the law of Colorado. As crippled and corrupt as it might be…that was always our intent. Ron will be able to return to California after 30 days or so to serve out his probation and resume his life. Interstate travel will be possible with permission from the court, so I will even be able to visit my family and friends back in the Midwest, with permission from the court. I may even be able to leave the country. No restrictions. And, if we keep our noses clean, after a year or so, we can be free of probation.

After nearly two years.. we’re finally… at least reasonably…free…! We continue to need your help. Court costs will still run into the thousands, along with months of travel and hotel stays to eventually resolve this deboggle. 

Questions can be directed to my email, markpedersen.cpn@gmail.com.

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