Worcester County Family Indicted for Drug Operation

Should They Lose Their Access to Medicinal Cannabis?

Jason Fehrnstrom, Contributing Writer

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According to the Brookings institution, a century-old research institution located in Washington D.C., one fifth of Americans live in a state where the recreational consumption of cannabis is legal. In addition, nearly half of Americans live in states where the medicinal use of cannabis is permitted.

Evidently, rank-and-file Americans are becoming increasingly supportive of the relaxation of cannabis laws. However, despite these transformative shifts at the state level, the federal government has not changed its policy towards cannabis since the introduction of the Controlled Substances Act of 1972, which classifies cannabis as a schedule one narcotic. Even in states where cannabis is legal, such as Massachusetts, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) can exercise its federal authority in cases where the defendant has the intent to distribute.

The power of the DEA to exercise its authority at the state level was salient this past week in Millbury, Mass., when federal authorities seized 2,200 pounds of cannabis from the headquarters of the Chuck Laverty & Son Plumbing Company.

Charles and Andrea Laverty, of Millbury, and their son Thomas Laverty, of Clinton, have all been indicted with felony charges related to the cultivation and distribution of cannabis. Investigators suggest that while the plumbing company conducted legitimate business, its main purpose was to serve as a cover-up for a drug operation.

DEA officials cite a series of significant cash deposits made into personal bank accounts as proof of the Laverty’s elaborate drug operation. The Laverty family claims that all of their earnings were generated through their plumbing services, and that they were not engaged in any illegal activity. To explain the immense amount of cannabis seized from their property, the Laverty family has referenced their plans to become involved in the legal cannabis industry.

Thomas Laverty faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $500,000 fine, while his parents both face maximum sentences of five years in prison and fines of $250,000. In addition, Charles and Thomas Laverty, who are both recipients of medicinal cannabis, have lost access to their medical cards.

In my view, the illegal activities of the Laverty family necessitate a significant punishment. According to investigators, there is an ample amount of evidence that suggests that they were willful participants in the illegal drug trade.

America is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in its history. The accessibility and inexpensiveness of opiates, which are to blame for the staggering number of drug-related deaths, can arguably be attributed to the strength of the illegal drug trade. Cannabis, whether it harms its users or not, is a staple crop for this illegal underground economy. Authorities need to punish distributors of all drugs to inhibit the flow of capital into this illegal market.

The Lavertys were cultivating and distributing millions of dollars worth of cannabis. The magnitude of their involvement in the drug trade undoubtedly warrants a course of punitive action. However, the decision of U.S. District Court Judge David Hennessy to prohibit Charles and Thomas Laverty from procuring their medicine is cruel and excessive. Cannabis can effectively treat a litany of medical disorders, and its therapeutic effects are well documented.

The purpose of the court system is to uphold the rule of law, it is not to decide what constitutes a legitimate form of medicine. The right to one’s medicine is inalienable; it cannot depend on circumstance or the beliefs of others. Charles and Thomas Laverty must answer to their crimes, however, their punishment should not impinge on their essential rights.