Posted: Sep 6, 2012 5:18 PM by Irina Cates - KPAX News
Updated: Sep 7, 2012 7:55 AM
MISSOULA - A longtime medical marijuana advocate says on some level, his passion for medical marijuana clouded his judgement and later resulted in federal drug charges. Tom Daubert faced prison time, but a judge felt that a five-year probationary sentence was more appropriate.
Sighs of relief, whispers of "yes!" echoed in the courtroom as Daubert's family and friends learned the judge would not send Daubert to federal prison for his involvement with Montana Cannabis. Daubert was also relieved the judge recognized that his case was different from most other defendants who were sentenced for marijuana crimes.
"I'm very grateful that he recognized the uniqueness of my particular case," said Daubert.
Prosecutors said Daubert joined Montana Cannabis in early 2009 and became a part of a business that generated a large amount of money and produced hundreds of pot plants. During the raids, federal agents seized numerous firearms across the state from the Montana Cannabis locations. But Daubert says he left Montana Cannabis four months prior to the raids because he didn't like where the business was heading.
"Advertising and public flash suggested marketing for the whole world," Daubert said. "My focus was on patients for whom this really was a matter of, in some cases, life and death."
Daubert's long-time advocacy for medical marijuana included helping write Initiative-148, which Montanans voted into law-legalizing the drug.
His story leading up to these charges is featured in the new in the critically-acclaimed documentary Code of the West, which premiered this year at SXSW in Austin, Tex., It's a portrait of the medical marijuana political debate in Montana and its implications beyond.
Daubert says he once felt honored to walk the halls of the state capitol and be a part of what happened there, but that's no longer the case.
"After the raids, I lost completely any kind of good feeling even being in there. I literally walked in and had a visceral feeling of nausea," said Daubert.
He says he still plans to advocate for medical marijuana, but probably not on the same level he did before.
Daubert says what hurts the most about this charge is losing the right to vote.