Richard Flor, regarded by many as the first medical marijuana caregiver in Montana, passed away on Thursday at the age of 68 while incarcerated in a Las Vegas prison. The medical marijuana advocate suffered from dementia, depression, and numerous other conditions before his arrest and while serving the duration of his sentence.
Flor was initially arrested on 12 different charges, including conspiracy, the manufacture and distribution of marijuana, and money laundering. Flor and his family contested the arrest, as he was in compliance with Montana’s medical marijuana law.
Flor was held at Crossroads Correctional Facility in Shelby while the Bureau of Prisons worked to determine where he could be cared for best. The decision of where Flor would serve his sentence was delayed for months.
On Tuesday, Flor was removed from the Shelby facility and moved to a Las Vegas jail on a temporary basis. There, he suffered from two heart attacks as well as kidney failure and renal failure. Flor was put on life support, but his family made the decision to remove him from life support on Thursday.
Brad Arndorfer, Flor’s attorney, called the death a failure of the federal justice system. He said, “I can point the finger at everybody. The fault is in prosecuting a man like this. The next fault is sentencing a man like this to prison. Then you’ve got the Marshals Service taking him to a place like Crossroads, which has no medical facilities capable of taking care of him.”
In July, Arndorfer asked US District Judge Charles Lovell to release Flor while he appealed his five-year sentence. Lovell denied the request on August 7th, stating that Flor’s injuries were under control and that the prison facilities could manage his health requirements.
Flor was a co-founder of Montana Cannabis, a medical marijuana collective which was shut down during the federal raids of Montana collectives in early 2011. Before it was closed, MC served over 300 patients in Billings, Missoula, Miles City, and Helena. MC was one of the largest collectives in Montana before the DEA raids.