Christensen recommended Williams be incarcerated in the federal prison in Sheridan, Ore., so he can be close to his 16-year-old son, a student at Montana State University.
Medical marijuana advocates who had traveled from California in a school bus painted green held a brief protest Friday morning outside the federal courthouse in Missoula.
Williams was a partner in Montana Cannabis, which operated distribution centers in Helena, Billings, Miles City and Missoula and had a large marijuana greenhouse on the west edge of Helena. Federal agents confiscated more than 950 marijuana plants from the greenhouse during the March 2011 raids.
Williams' three partners previously pleaded guilty to drug charges. Lobbyist Tom Daubert and attorney Chris Lindsey both received probation and no jail time. Partner Richard Flor, of Miles City, was given a five-year sentence and died within a few months of his incarceration.
Dan Nichols, a security guard for the Montana Cannabis operation who is better known for kidnapping a biathlete with his father in the 1980s, was sentenced to four years in prison.