By TOM DIDDEL
A chapter in Montana’s medical marijuana saga ended this week as a long-time advocate for the legalization of the drug for medicinal purposes was handed his sentence.
Tom Daubert, who helped write the medical marijuana bill for Montana and whose later dealings with a marijuana dispensary ended with him being charged in federal court, was given five years of probation.
According to KPAX.com, there were audible sighs of relief in the court room as Daubert avoided being sentenced to federal prison.
Daubert became involved with the Montana Cannabis dispensary in 2009, but according to his testimony he left the business because of his unease concerning the direction the dispensary was heading.
Duabert was concerned with, “patients for whom this really was a matter of, in some cases, life and death,” as quoted by KPAX.com. When he realized the business was marketing the medicine to wider audience, he became wary of its future intentions.
Duabert has been an advocate for the making the medicine available legally to patients who truly needed it. He even helped write Initiative-148. An initiative which was later approved by Montana voters and legalized the drug making it available to patients who received “cards” demonstrating their medical need for the drug.
After the newly formed industry witnessed an incredible explosion in growth throughout Montana, the dispensaries attracted the attention of many groups seeking to curtail future expansion.
The state’s legislature began to look at ways to change the initiative and eventually the Federal Department of Justice conducted raids on businesses across the state (chronicled in an earlier Make it Missoula article).
The decision to sentence Duabert to probation instead of prison illustrates the different sides of the medical marijuana debate. Those who acted in a way in which the spirit of the law was crafted and intended (to decriminalize patients seeking medicine) and the other side who sought to take advantage of the new industry in order to strictly profit from it.
Ultimately, Duabert’s sentence reflects the ability of our judicial system to recognize the differences between these two sides.
Each week, Tom Diddel recaps the week’s most talked-about story in Missoula. Visit the Make it Missoula News & Opinion section for more talk of the town.
Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.