Pubdate: Thu, 06 Sep 2012
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2012 Missoulian
Author: Gwen Florio


Tom Daubert, who led the push for the voter-approved law legalizing 
medical marijuana in Montana, was sentenced Thursday to five years' 
probation in a federal drug case.

"I'm feeling relieved and grateful for the judge's mercy and 
leniency," Daubert said. " ... I'm very glad he recognized the 
uniqueness of my particular case."

Daubert was among several people charged after federal agents raided 
medical marijuana businesses, including the Helena-based Montana 
Cannabis, around the state last year. Daubert had ended his interest 
in Montana Cannabis before the raids, something U.S. District Court 
Judge Dana Christensen noted in imposing probation.

Daubert pleaded guilty in April to a charge of conspiracy to maintain 
drug-involved premises, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 
20 years in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Thaggard sought a 
prison term of six-and-a-half to eight years for Daubert, calling him 
"a talented man, (who) also used those talents to exercise leadership 
in a conspiracy."

But Christensen noted that Daubert had lobbied long and hard for 
stricter state regulations of Montana's medical marijuana industry, 
and - while he was still with Montana Cannabis - routinely conducted 
tours through the company's Helena greenhouse for lawmakers and law 
enforcement officers.

"Tom conducted all and everything he did openly and in plain view," 
defense attorney Bill Taylor of the Washington, D.C., firm of 
Zuckerman Spaeder said during the hearing. " ... No one in law 
enforcement advised him at any time that his conduct had crossed the line."

Montana is among 17 states and the District of Columbia that have 
passed laws legalizing the medical use of cannabis. But marijuana 
remains illegal under federal law, a fact cited in part as the basis 
for the raids in Montana and other states. Federal authorities in 
some of those states, though, sent letters to marijuana businesses 
warning them that they faced similar action if they continued to operate.

Christensen also sentenced Daubert to pay a total of $50,000 in 
forfeiture and other fees, which he's already paid, as well as a 
standard $100 fee.


Daubert formed Montana Cannabis with partners Richard Flor, Chris 
Lindsey and Chris Williams.

Flor, of Miles City, pleaded guilty in April to maintaining 
drug-involved premises and was sentenced to five years in prison. But 
the 68-year-old Flor, who suffered from dementia and other serious 
medical conditions, died in custody last month after being moved to 
Nevada from a private prison in Montana.

Lindsey pleaded guilty Thursday to maintaining drug-involved 
premises. Christensen set his sentencing for Dec. 13. Williams' trial 
is scheduled for Sept. 24.

Peter Lacny, of Missoula, one of Daubert's defense attorneys, noted 
he'd submitted more than 70 letters attesting to Daubert's character, 
more than in any other case he's handled. Christensen noted Thursday 
that he'd read all of the letters and also watched two DVDs, one 
called "Medical Cannabis in Montana," and the other a documentary 
called "Code of the West." The latter focused on legislative attempts 
to reform Montana's vague medical marijuana law, and prominently 
featured Daubert's efforts.

Daubert's work on behalf of medical cannabis patients began years ago 
as the head of the advocacy group Patients and Families United, which 
fought for the 2004 voter initiative.

That work won Daubert a loyal following, and Thursday's sentencing 
hearing was crowded with supporters, who mobbed him with bear hugs 
after it was over.

The longtime lobbyist who has spent years working the halls of the 
Montana Capitol said he's not sure whether he'll stay politically involved.

"One of the many heartbreaking moments for me right after the raids" 
occurred when he returned to the Capitol, he said. "Every time I 
walked into the Capitol, I felt its grandeur and beauty." But after 
the raids, he said, "I lost completely any kind of good feeling going in there."
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