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Three men get 1-year sentences for medical marijuana operations

2011-12-16T00:00:00Z Three men get 1-year sentences for medical marijuana operationsBy EVE BYRON Independent Record Helena Independent Record
December 16, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Three men who openly operated medical marijuana businesses in Helena and Great Falls were sentenced in federal court Thursday to a year in prison.

In an emotionally charged hearing, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell handed down the prison terms to Joshua Schultz, Jesse Leland and Jason Burns. About 75 friends and family members who packed into the federal courthouse in Helena were hoping the judge would take the recommendation of probation made by the men’s attorneys, but also feared that the judge might impose a mandatory minimum sentence of five years or even the maximum of 40 years.

Yet judges are allowed discretion when it comes to sentencing, even with mandatory minimums. Since the men had admitted their guilt, cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, had minimal if any criminal records and believed they were in compliance with state laws governing medical marijuana, court officials recommended a guideline sentencing range of 24 to 30 months.

But Lovell lowered the sentences even further, noting that this was a highly unusual case, pitting state against federal laws regarding marijuana.

“The sentencing range that established the guidelines has been, in the judgment of the court, excessive for utilization in this particular case under what I find to be very unusual circumstances,” Lovell said. “While it is true that the law was violated and while it is true that the computation set forward by the U.S. Probation Office complies with the guidelines in an ordinary case, this is not an ordinary case as to each of the three defendants.

“… We need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparity among defendants found guilty of similar misconduct and who have similar records.”

Still, the 12-month sentences to a federal penitentiary shook the courtroom, with mothers, wives and friends breaking into tears, sighs of “no” ringing out and men dropping their heads into their hands.

Attorneys for the three men noted that this wasn’t the typical drug case involving clandestine manufacturing of drugs without regulations. In 2004, 62 percent of Montana voters passed an initiative removing criminal penalties under Montana state law related to the medicinal use, possessing and cultivation of marijuana for qualifying patients and registered caregivers.

Few people registered with the state as patients or caregivers until 2009, when the “Ogden Memo” was issued to federal prosecutors by then U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden. Generally, it said prosecution of marijuana cases in states with medical marijuana laws should be low on the priority list.

But many people who read the memo thought it said the federal government wouldn’t prosecute medical marijuana cases, and the number of caregivers and patients skyrocketed in Montana. Leland, 28, and Burns, 40, formed Queen City Caregivers LLC and registered the business with the Secretary of State’s office.

The men maintained records regarding the eligible patients for which they could manufacture marijuana under the state law and even met with local law enforcement officials, who counted 749 plants growing at their nursery on Westhaven Road in Helena. The officials determined that Burns and Leland were in compliance with state laws and didn’t issue any citations.

Meanwhile, Schultz, 38, opened Natural Medicine of Great Falls, which operated like a broker, buying and selling marijuana among caregivers.

“As (Schultz’s) character letters attest, he is a good family man and a productive member of the community,” defense attorney Michael Donahoe wrote on behalf of his client in court documents. “Absent the government’s publication of the Ogden Memo, there is no evidence to support the conclusion that (Schultz) would have engaged in the business of selling marijuana.

“… And under the Ogden Memo it was more than reasonable for (Schultz) to assume that he would not be targeted for federal prosecution, so long as he was making a good faith effort to remain in compliance with Montana’s medical marijuana laws.”

But in March, the federal government carried out dozens of raids in Montana, including at the three men’s businesses. They were arrested and jailed on about 25 charges each including manufacturing and distributing marijuana and money laundering.

In court Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thaggard reiterated that the Ogden Memo only spoke about prioritization of crimes, and federal prosecutors in Montana felt a need to corral the state’s exploding medical marijuana industry. He added that the memo also said people wouldn’t be prosecuted when there was “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state law, and the three men didn’t fall into that category. For example, Leland had sold marijuana to an undercover officer, and the state law doesn’t allow for caregiver to caregiver transactions.

“The memo didn’t say sort of comply or try to comply or attempt to comply … and the use and distribution of medical marijuana is still against federal law,” Thaggard said. “So it’s a little disingenuous for these defendants to come forward saying they didn’t believe they would be fair game for prosecution.”

The court received dozens of letters from supporters of all three men, who noted that they were upstanding fathers, uncles and friends, as well as caring individuals who were only trying to help people who were ill. Thaggard noted that while that may be true, the men also made quite a bit of money — around $1.3 million by the government’s accounting.

Burns, who also owns a construction business in Helena, pleaded guilty in September to growing marijuana and money laundering. Leland pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana and Schultz pleaded guilty to distribution of marijuana. In exchange for the guilty pleas, the other charges were dropped Thursday and the defendants agreed not to appeal the sentences.

Leland and Burns each forfeited $454,666 in a bank account that was seized and Schultz paid the government $110,000 prior to the sentencing. He also forfeited a 2001 Mercedes Benz.

All three men were set free Thursday, but will have to report to federal prison as soon as they’re ordered to begin their sentences. After the release, Burns will be on supervised probation for three years and Leland and Schultz will be supervised for four years.


Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076 or eve.byron@helenair.com or Twitter.com/IR_EveByron

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(37) Comments

  1. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - December 20, 2011 9:42 am
    Yes I have Hobbit and I am done spinning in you little circles. People like you have literally no credibility and I refuse to play your games. No matter what I say it won't matter to you. Go get high it will calm you down. Get a new routine and stop calling names in the threads.
  2. Hobbit
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    Hobbit - December 20, 2011 6:14 am
    Cannabis could be sold through a drug store only if government will stop its lies about it. It is on the Schedule One drug list because government says it is of no medicinal value and is addictive. Neither is true. Our "leaders" only saw Big Pharma's money. You have NEVER said how you have been hurt...
  3. Riamh
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    Riamh - December 19, 2011 3:51 pm
    Dolphin, In order to have a licensed pharmacist handle cannabis, that would require removing cannabis from the Schedule 1 list. That's a great start. However, please clarify, am I to understand that you view cannabis as being more dangerous than alcohol?
  4. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 19, 2011 3:12 pm
    Regulation all sounds fine and good, but the flip side of regulation is cost. Look at what pain meds cost now, its insane. Despite how relatively cheap some of these meds are massed produced through machines instead of man power, look at what we pay! Just like with all goods and services that we need, how many people remember that a bottle of soda out of a machine cost 25 cents 30 years ago? Anyone want to tell me it costs more to mass product the aluminum can of soda? Why then is the average price of that soda coming out of a machine now 5 times that? Profits, pure and simple.

    I don't think MM is any more addictive then any other "mind altering" substance. MM just happens to be illegal while others are not.
  5. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - December 19, 2011 10:53 am
    No Riamh, I get you. I have much to protect from drugs that are not harmless. This needs to be handled like any other prescription drug, thru a pharmacist. Not from some criminal off the street that keeps breaking the law. I know exactly what is going on so don't go down the same uneducated trail again. We both know the same things we just have different expectations and tolerances. Please don't tell me you are condoning hobbits tactics riamh? I though we had moved past that. Riamh I have never said that pot has no medicinal value but here is hobbit spouting lies and spreading fear that we are saying that. I rarely see any one say that at all. Our leaders were inundated with calls from concerned citizens about the problems with MM on our communities and they took action. It is not the boogy man. These lies are meant to spread fear riamh and there is no facts to back them up. Even when I tell him how I or others have been hurt he spins a circle. I am glad you and I have moved past that riamh as it leads no where. What nees to happen is people like you and I need to help get this back where it needs to be regulated and controled by a licensed pharmacist.
  6. Hobbit
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    Hobbit - December 19, 2011 4:05 am
    BillCunnane: We DO need this industry for medicine and jobs. Only Big Pharma and government shills come down on the wrong side. Its about lies and greed. They say cannabis is addictive and has no medicinal value, neither is true; what they really mean is Big Pharma shall have no competition for their killer products. You have swallowed the propaganda. Now tell us how you have been hurt by someone's use of it. You are always silent on that subject.
    dolphind3: Our "leaders" are followers of the money from Big Pharma, thier pockets are full of it. The facts do not concern them, nor does the suffering of patients. Your mistaken passion for the wrong side of this question is not supported by any statement from you as to WHY. How have you been hurt by a medicinal cannabis user or provider? Tell us.
  7. Riamh
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    Riamh - December 18, 2011 7:53 pm
    dolphind3 said: "@Riamh, If our leaders read this crap and let opinons of people that are desperate to not lose their drug of choice than they are going to get a very biased viewpoint. Out leaders base their opinion on facts and the majority, that is why we have seen the changes that we have due to the abuse of what was intended as a way to help the extremely ill.As far as me staying here....probably for the same reasons that you are still posting. I believe in what I am saying and am passionate about it.@Hobbit, you keep proving that you have no arguement as all you can do is sling insults, keep trying though. Like I said you have no credibility. I have already explained how I and people I know have been harmed by this drug. I will not do so again. You are going in circles hobit. Why is that??? You have nothing and have no ability to control others and that enrages you.....Sounds like you are a cyber bully... You don't frighten anyone here, in fact we all laugh at you. I have had some little tiffs with Riamh but have come to believe that the opinions they hold on not only this but other subjects hold merrit. You however live in fear. That is why you attack, that and no basis."

    Dolphin, You completely and totally misunderstand the reality of things. For one thing, no one has lost their drug of choice. You act like there was never any cannabis in Montana before '04. EVERYONE knows better. SB423 didn't take anyone's "drug of choice" away, it just sent a lot of people back to the black market, where there's no regulation, and no taxation, and absolutely NO benefit to the public at all.

    At least with the store fronts, they paid taxes, paid wages, and contributed to local economy. At the same time, They almost completely put black market operations out of business. I'm sure the black market criminals would love to thank you for all of your phone calls dolphin, you saved them from going out of business. Good Job.

    This isn't about desperation, Dolphin, Pro-Cannabis people are pissed off, and tired of having our liberty stepped on. (as are a great number of other Americans who have "no dog in this fight", so to speak). People are sick to death for being criminalized for using cannabis for whatever reasons they choose. Also we're a little miffed at being lied to for the last 70 years. We're a little miffed that we've been stereotyped in the manner we've been stereotyped and we're tired of it.

    Cannabis is out there, and NOTHING on earth will EVER change that, short of the end of all life on earth! As long as people want it, there will be people willing to provide it. Prohibition only drives up the price, and makes people willing to kill for the kind of money involved. Prohibition makes the WRONG people RICH AND POWERFUL. Just like what happened with alcohol in the prohibition era. Remember Al Capone? He was NOTHING but a two bit thug until prohibition. This prohibition is no different. Take away the prohibition, you take away the massive profits involved with that substance. It's really a quite simple concept to grasp. No profits, no motivation for violence. One less way for organized crime to exist.

    PS Dolphin, you always call anyone who wont back down from you a cyber bully. Seems you just can't take what you dish out.
  8. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - December 18, 2011 2:46 pm
    @Riamh, If our leaders read this crap and let opinons of people that are desperate to not lose their drug of choice than they are going to get a very biased viewpoint. Out leaders base their opinion on facts and the majority, that is why we have seen the changes that we have due to the abuse of what was intended as a way to help the extremely ill.
    As far as me staying here....probably for the same reasons that you are still posting. I believe in what I am saying and am passionate about it.
    @Hobbit, you keep proving that you have no arguement as all you can do is sling insults, keep trying though. Like I said you have no credibility. I have already explained how I and people I know have been harmed by this drug. I will not do so again. You are going in circles hobit. Why is that??? You have nothing and have no ability to control others and that enrages you.....Sounds like you are a cyber bully... You don't frighten anyone here, in fact we all laugh at you. I have had some little tiffs with Riamh but have come to believe that the opinions they hold on not only this but other subjects hold merrit. You however live in fear. That is why you attack, that and no basis.
  9. BillCunnane
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    BillCunnane - December 18, 2011 10:20 am
    Re to Hobbit: There are many of us who are very much anti pot activists just as you are on the pro pot side. Up here we have take it to the storefront operations and growers by filing with the Drug Taskforce and FBI complaints and put several operation on the radar as well as two local operations closed down once they heard of our actions. Montana does not need illegal businesses and storefront operations. There are plenty of oportunities to work legally, plenty of chances to better the community without getting involved in dispensing and growning a substance that is clearly illegal.
  10. Hobbit
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    Hobbit - December 18, 2011 5:56 am
    dolphind3: Yes, you have shown your ignorance of the language, that is your choice, if that is how you wish to be portrayed. Newspapers, however, should be a step up from the uneducated, like yourself. I prefer what you call arrogance to ignorance. How have you, personally, been injured by someone else's use of medical cannabis? You cannot say, so go away, this in none of your business.
  11. LegAdv
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    LegAdv - December 17, 2011 5:22 pm
    While it is true that the court does have the authority under 18 USC §3553(e) and 18 USC §3553(f) to impose a sentence below a statutory minimum sentence in Controlled Substances Act cases of this type, it should be noted that this authority is sharply limited by the criteria set out in these two sub-sections. And it would appear from the article that Mr. Burns, Mr. Schultz and Mr. Leland each met all of the criteria and thus, avoided the imposition of a statutory 5-year minimum sentence of imprisonment. However, had they been found by the court at sentencing to have, for example, possessed a firearm or other dangerous weapon in connection with the offense(s) convicted of, or to have more than 1 criminal history point as determined under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, they would not likely have fared as well.

    Jimador, the 'answers' you are referring to have already been provided by the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005). In that case, the Court held that Congress’ Commerce Clause authority includes the power to prohibit the
    local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with state law.

    And abodox33, the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment has been found to be fundamental and applied to the states, via the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. ___ (slip op., at 20-21, 26, 28, 31) (2010). As such, a much higher standard of review than that applied in the Raich decision, above, is required in cases involving infringements of Second Amendment rights. In addition, the government must satisfy a higher burden to establish the constitutionality of these infringements. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to establish a standard of review for Second Amendment infringements, in light of their decision in McDonald, I suspect that the standard of review in future cases of this type will likely be strict scrutiny, with the attendant requirement that the statute in question be narrowly-tailored to achieve a compelling state interest.
  12. Riamh
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    Riamh - December 17, 2011 11:45 am
    lampropeltis said: "Where are all the limited government conservatives to defend these men? It's truly a case of BIG feds coming in and trumping states rights. Why is it mostly "Big Guvment" Libs coming to these guys defense?"

    I think there's a number of reasons for that lampropeltis. For one thing, the "libs" have a little compassion and empathy. Another reason, is because of the difference in how "libs and cons" are hard wired to think. A lib's first reaction is intellectual, while the conservative's reaction is more akin to the primitive fear/threat reaction.

    For more than 70 years, we've been fed propaganda concerning cannabis, and that has created stereotypes that aren't easily broken. "libs" tend to be more open minded and objective in their perceptions, while "cons" tend to feel threatened by anything they don't understand, and immediately close their minds.
  13. Riamh
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    Riamh - December 17, 2011 11:35 am
    dolphind3 said: "Riamh, lets be serious, you want to call Billy a robot for sounding the same????? We can say the same about you too. Every single one of these stupid pot articles(yes I said pot Hobbit, don't try to tell me how to talk or correct people anymore, I have had it with your arrogance)anyway, every single one of these articles has the same discussions by the same people over and over and honestly it is getting boring. What happens in here has little impact on real life and we will just have to see what happens when we vote on this again. I am sure the majority will put it right, whichever side that may be."

    Dolphin, its not just because his posts all sound the same. It's because no matter what the input condition, bill's output is always the same. Nothing but black and white, there's no shades of grey, and even you should understand by now, that NOTHING in life is truly black and white. People who deal only in absolutes lack imagination, and the ability or desire to think for themselves.

    If you are getting bored with these discussions, then why do you bother showing up here to post? This is a small town, how many new people do you expect to show up? You say these forums have no effect on life outside of them, and perhaps there's some truth to that, however, this paper is that of the capitol city of our state, and some of our leaders probably DO read these forums. I hold hope some day one of them may learn something valuable by reading our comments.


  14. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - December 17, 2011 10:05 am
    Riamh, lets be serious, you want to call Billy a robot for sounding the same????? We can say the same about you too. Every single one of these stupid pot articles(yes I said pot Hobbit, don't try to tell me how to talk or correct people anymore, I have had it with your arrogance)anyway, every single one of these articles has the same discussions by the same people over and over and honestly it is getting boring. What happens in here has little impact on real life and we will just have to see what happens when we vote on this again. I am sure the majority will put it right, whichever side that may be.
  15. Goldstein84
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    Goldstein84 - December 17, 2011 8:40 am
    lampropeltis said: "Where are all the limited government conservatives to defend these men? It's truly a case of BIG feds coming in and trumping states rights. Why is it mostly "Big Guvment" Libs coming to these guys defense?"

    AN EXCELLENT QUESTION... I suppose it's because liberals have compassion even when the issue isn't black and white and when it doesn't suit their agenda.

    Riamh--nice job with the explanation.
  16. Hobbit
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    Hobbit - December 17, 2011 6:10 am
    Thank you for using the right word in the hot topics, now just move it to the headline and body and you will have it right!
    blackheart: It is government arrogance towards us that is worrisome. How have these "criminals" hurt you? You will never say, you can't, they haven't. There are no victims. Lots of police and war vets think the war on drugs is a waste of time.
    justme59601: The "law" is based on lies, doesn't that bother you a little?
    BillCunnane: When Big Pharma agrees to sell for no profit then this law will be fair. Meanwhile it is just their effort to prevent sick people from having really good medicine. It cuts into their profits. Don't tell us what Montana wants or needs, we have already proven that Montana wants and needs medical cannabis. When you say "we" you just mean thee. You think it does not matter what Montana wants? I hope your rights are the next ones to go.
  17. lampropeltis
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    lampropeltis - December 16, 2011 9:20 pm
    Where are all the limited government conservatives to defend these men? It's truly a case of BIG feds coming in and trumping states rights. Why is it mostly "Big Guvment" Libs coming to these guys defense?
  18. Riamh
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    Riamh - December 16, 2011 7:31 pm
    justme59601 said: "do you people seriously want to compare getting high to nazis, women's voting rights or slavery??? still sounds like apples and oranges. thank you for proving my point."

    Clearly, you have missed their point, justme, so I will try to clear it up for you.

    At one time, slavery was the law of the land. Now it is not. At one time, women were not allowed to vote, but now they are. The point should by now be obvious, the law of the land can be changed when a majority of people WANTS that law changed. Understand now?

    As for the Nazi analogy, that is a bit more complicated and I seriously doubt you'd understand.

    @Bill Cunnane -Your ever so standard response on these forums gets old fast. I am starting to think you really are a robot. You appear to have been programmed to spit out the same output regardless of the input received. Your comments reflect the insanity of this entire "war on drugs"! To keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results is pure insanity.
  19. justme59601
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    justme59601 - December 16, 2011 2:20 pm
    do you people seriously want to compare getting high to nazis, women's voting rights or slavery??? still sounds like apples and oranges. thank you for proving my point.
  20. monterrapin
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    monterrapin - December 16, 2011 2:16 pm
    I echo Riamh's sentiment!!! Waste of resources fighting that "war"! Far more important things to be concerned with!
  21. BillCunnane
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    BillCunnane - December 16, 2011 2:03 pm
    Federal Law states distributing or growning marijuana for profit is a crime as well as possession over certain limits for use as a medical patient. The memos from the AJ early this year clearly outlined the Feds policy, alos outlined the fact that they are NOT going to target patients and those who grow for a relative or single patient as long as the product is NOT SOLD for PROFIT. Monatan does not need or want storefront distributors or large scale growers. They are simply your just a drug dealer with a sign in front of their business. SB423 is correct in closing down storefront operations or allowing cities and counties to ban these illegal operations. The Feds are NOT going to stop enforcing the law and the law is going to remain on the books for generations to come. It does not matter what the state of montana says in a marijuana law. If you sell or grow for profit then you will, and deserve to be arrested and put in prison by the Feds. Keep up the good work Justice Dept and DEA.
  22. abodox33
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    abodox33 - December 16, 2011 1:12 pm
    justme: I am in no way a liberal, or affiliated with the democratic party in any way, nor have I ever been. I am not a "toker" either.

    I am quite familiar with the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution which states that "Constitution and the laws of the United States...shall be the supreme law of the land...anything in the constitutions or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." And I am sure that you are familiar with Arizona immigration laws and MT HB 246 which makes certain firearms exempt from federal firearms laws. And so as being a devout positivist, you would clearly oppose such laws since state law can not trump federal law, right?!?

    I am not comparing apples to oranges, I am comparing like minded thought processes. If you believe that every law ever made is valid and just, then you are no different than the slave owners who engaged in human trade and exchange and no different than the Nazis who committed crimes against humanity becuase their government told them that it was their legal responsibility to carry out such orders from their government. Laws are not always correct or reasonable.
  23. Goldstein84
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    Goldstein84 - December 16, 2011 12:22 pm
    justme59601 said: "did you know law school teaches you that state law can't trump federal law?"

    Just like slavery and women's suffrage, right? Enough with the big government...
  24. Riamh
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    Riamh - December 16, 2011 11:46 am
    In case you folks have forgotten, it's not only permissible, but it's our duty to question the government. Some of you seem to think that all authority comes from the government, and that is just wrong. The government draws its authority from the people not the other way around. At this point, in spite of the 70 year propaganda campaign, the majority of americans support outright legalization of cannabis. It's time to end prohibition once and for all, and stop wasting our tax dollars on the useless, unwinnable "war on drugs"
  25. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - December 16, 2011 10:58 am
    Jimador is correct. But we try to brush that aside. I think it is sick to defend that. Well put JIM
  26. justme59601
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    justme59601 - December 16, 2011 10:04 am
    nice try abodox but.....fail. typical liberal answer by trying to compare apples to oranges. you tokers were basically set up by giving you the opportunity to vote for a state law that was in conflict to federal law. did you know law school teaches you that state law can't trump federal law?
  27. You Must Be High
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    You Must Be High - December 16, 2011 9:56 am
    honeygetm'gun said: "Excuse me, sir, but the People of the Great state of Montana DEMOCRATICALLY made a law providing for the use of clinical cannabis. We made it legal; they were using their rights. Federal and local government are the ones showing "an attitude of arrogance" towards the People. You, on the other hand, are being a coward by hiding this behind patriotism and the service of good men and women."
    ... THANK YOU ...... I concure. The ONLY real answer here is the repeal of prohibition. The people of Montana (and 15 other states) HAVE spoken. It's the government that is out of line.
  28. bjrwalw
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    bjrwalw - December 16, 2011 9:43 am
    Wait until you see how the judge is sentenced (it usually takes 100 years before a judge is sentenced).
  29. abodox33
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    abodox33 - December 16, 2011 9:36 am
    Justme: How did law school go for you?!? Looks like you got stuck in your first year as well with legal positism vs. natural law theories.

    I believe that distinctions should be made between legal validity and moral validity. Being legally valid does not always correspond with the law being wise, just, or prudent.

    The mere enactment of a law by a political institution does not mean that society should accept all such laws as legitimate and binding.

    The slave codes enforced by the Confederacy during the Civil War generally contained clearly written rules that systematically deprived African-Americans of their civil liberties, not to mention their human dignity.

    In Nazi Germany, Adolph Hitler's regime brutally stripped Jews of any governmental protection through a labyrinth of legal codes.
  30. JUSTDAFACTS
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    JUSTDAFACTS - December 16, 2011 9:32 am
    While I personally disagree with the current interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, is has been deemed “constitutional” by the only people who can declare such…the Supreme Court. Any 1st year law student would know this. Until the states stand up and demand a new interpretation we are stuck with this. That requires a change to our constitution and we are currently far too caught up in “my side always right, your side always wrong” party politics to get any such thing done. For you, this is about MJ and for me it is about the right to bear arms. Both are (or should be) states’ rights issues but amazingly these two sides keep canceling each other out when they are actually fighting for the exact same interpretation. Until that interpretation is changed, or an amendment made to clarify it, neither side can really win. The pro MJ side is perfectly ok with the feds controlling firearms and us gun nuts are ok with the feds controlling MJ…so neither side can win.

    I think it is of note that this is the FIRST MJ prosecution (in this chain of raids) where it appears to have been a legitimate and legal business. A business type being legal does not make it a legally run business. I say this because so far, this is the only one I have seen where there were not illegal firearms or money laundering/tax or other legal issues that would make ANY business less than legal. As such…it is the first I have mixed feelings about.
  31. Jimador
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    Jimador - December 16, 2011 9:31 am
    I don't have a problem with medical marijuana but didn't one of these guys sell it to an undercover police officer who didn't have the proper medical marijuana card? If a pharmacist sells a prescription drug to someone without a prescription, is that illegal and punishable? I believe so.

    I believe that the federal and state governments need to figure out the legal treatment and regulation of medical marijuana. I had hoped that these guys were operating completely legally under the state law and then could appeal the decision (assuming it wasn't in their favor) to the United States Supreme Court so that we could have answers.
  32. honeygetm'gun
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    honeygetm'gun - December 16, 2011 8:26 am
    blackheart said: "Having an attitude of arrogance toward the government is, at best, a cowards way of viewing things..."

    Excuse me, sir, but the People of the Great state of Montana DEMOCRATICALLY made a law providing for the use of clinical cannabis. We made it legal; they were using their rights. Federal and local government are the ones showing "an attitude of arrogance" towards the People. You, on the other hand, are being a coward by hiding this behind patriotism and the service of good men and women.
  33. justme59601
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    justme59601 - December 16, 2011 8:12 am
    so knowa...did you flunk out of law school after that first year you keep talking about? too busy getting high huh? do you know what they taught in that second year you missed? just because you disagree with a law, it's still a law.
  34. blackheart
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    blackheart - December 16, 2011 7:59 am
    Having an attitude of arrogance toward the government is, at best, a cowards way of viewing things, if not for our government, we would not have this little conversation...think it is magic?? Ask any combat vet..Ask any Police Officer...then think a little deeper than your skin.
    Thank You Law Enforcement, thank you Judge, outstanding job of incarcerating these criminals!
  35. mtbiker
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    mtbiker - December 16, 2011 7:37 am
    Even a one year prison sentence is a waste of time, public money, and human potential. You would think that a cash-strapped government would stop spending resources on such asinine, petty prosecutions.

    On the other hand, I am sure that the owners and investors in private prisons, like Crossroad Correctional Facility in Shelby are overjoyed that the government (read, taxpayers) are going to be paying to put these men (and other non-violent offenders) up in their accommodations.
  36. Hobbit
    Report Abuse
    Hobbit - December 16, 2011 5:03 am
    The only thing these people are guilty of is providing medicine and jobs. Now they can do neither and the state must provide for them. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? How does one manufacture cannabis? Plant it and it grows. God gave this plant and all others to us to use, Gen. 1:29. God also gave a lot of us the sense to know how to use the correct word in a "newspaper". But the contintued use of the wrong term implies yellow journalism. Come on, step up to the plate and use the right word, or else start calling it "booze" in every article about alcohol.
  37. knowa
    Report Abuse
    knowa - December 16, 2011 3:03 am
    Any first year law student know that Federal law trumps state law and any first year law student knows prohibition of Cannabis is unconstitutional and it is a joke if not a insult to the signers of this document and to have the the miss interpreted of the commerce clause used to justifies the fed's stance that mean you are violating that same law is you grow a victory garden or a farmer want to grow his own corn or wheat. How ever by Montana allowing city or state employee to aid and assist the Fed's is a violation of State Law and States Rights. So these three should file charges against any and all state employee that violated State laws The Fed's have to be told they are unwelcome in Montana when it violates States Rights and These State Employees that violated state rights need to be fired and lose any and all benefits.

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