Thursday, October 22, 2015

In Defense of Marijuana: Brothers Face Felony Drug Charges Together in December Trial

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Now that Kalvin Catlin's brother Kyle has been convicted on three felony drug charges, the 23-year-old doesn't have much hope about the outcome of the trial the two will tackle together in December. 

The husband and father of two—a daughter who will turn 3 years old in December, and a son who will be 1 next month—says he's been trying to hide from the legal hell. Now that his brother sits in jail while he awaits for sentencing, all of the feelings are reemerging. 

"It is devastating," he says, wiping the tears from his face with paint-stained, white T-shirt. "I just lost my brother. It is unspeakable. To know that one day my entire life is going to (change)...everything I have been working so hard for."

If it weren't for the upcoming trial, Kalvin would be well on his way to a very successful career racing cars. His hobby and family have kept him happily distracted. But in two months, he'll have to walk into Pima County Superior Court Judge Javier Chon-Lopez's courtroom and pray for the best.

Three years ago, the brothers—both of whom are medical marijuana cardholders—partnered up in a caregiver project called Arizona Medical Marijuana Caregivers. They were arrested in late 2012, a few months after Kyle was arrested on separate counts. The brothers' residence was searched, after investigators overseeing the case found recent information about the healing center online. That's how they justified another search warrant. (It was a site with tons of reviews about the weed Catlin sold and his services, as well as customer testimonials, Kyle told the Tucson Weekly in September.)

Some of the felonies the brothers face are: Illegally conducting an enterprise; conspiracy to commit sale of marijuana; conspiracy to commit possession of marijuana for sale; possession of marijuana for sale; possession of drug paraphernalia. 

The indictment refers to Kyle as the "Boss," who employed an "associate" to deliver marijuana, and "arranged appointments between the runner and customer for the purpose of selling marijuana." While Kalvin, "could facilitate and/or arrange appointments and meetings between the runners and the customers for the purpose of selling marijuana and/or cannabis."

"Kyle and/or Kalvin would maintain a secure residence(s) and/or phone lines to further the goals of the enterprise. Such residence(s) would be used as a base of operations to 1. Secure cash and/or proceeds of the enterprise; 2. Store marijuana and/or cannabis for purpose of sale; 3. Store and use equipment for the purpose of manufacturing cannabis; 4. Manufacturing cannabis; 5. Packaging and inventorying amounts of marijuana and or/cannabis that would be sold by the enterprise, and; 6. Provide a clandestine and secure location to conduct the affairs of the enterprise," the indictment says. 

Kyle and Kalvin's attorneys are going to work together to come up with a defense. Unfortunately, if Chon-Lopez heads the same route he did in Kyle's first trial, they probably won't be able to mention the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act as part of that defense. 

In Kyle's case, he's already been convicted on three felonies, which means that if he is convicted in trial 2, the sentence will only double. 

Medical marijuana laws aside, this is a time when President Obama, his administration and bipartisan members of Congress are asking for sentencing reform on nonviolent drug offenders. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice released 6,000 of them. 

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