Based on the fact that they believed what they were doing to be legal under state law, a Montana Judge has handed down minimal sentences to victims of the recent federal interference in the state’s medical marijuana program.
When the raids began last year, it was believed that many of the folks caught up would be facing sentences ranging from five to 40 years in jail and fines up to $5 million dollars. However in the case of the first three defendants things went very different, their defense team was able to talk the prosecutors down to sentences between 24 and 30 months. The man presiding over the case, Senior Judge Charles Lovell, decided to further half the sentences to only 12 months.
Regarding Judge Lovell’s decision, the Missoulian noted,
“Senior Judge Charles Lovell criticized the guidelines as “excessive,” making particular mention of the fact that the three men, who operated businesses in Helena and Great Falls, believed their work to be legal under state law.”
While the reduced sentences are a sigh of relief for the many, there are still many harsh realities these folks have to deal with as noted by John Masterson of Montana NORML,
“He pointed out that in addition to prison time, some people face huge forfeitures. For instance, Evan James Corum of Olney was ordered to forfeit $86,850. “It would not be right to say that these are light sentences.”
Montana still has threats on the horizon, even members of the State Legislature are coming under investigation by the DEA in wild hopes of finding conspiracies to distribute marijuana. Nevertheless it is always positive to see victims of the war on medical marijuana get less than expected sentences, even though they shouldn’t be incarcerated at all.
Thanks to Toke of the Town for the pic.