United States v. Washington

887 F. Supp. 2d 1077 (2012)

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United States v. Washington

United States District Court for the District of Montana
887 F. Supp. 2d 1077 (2012)

Facts

Jason Washington and several other residents of Montana (the medical-marijuana sellers) (defendants) grew and sold medical marijuana. The medical-marijuana sellers’ activities complied with Montana’s medical-marijuana law, but the medical-marijuana sellers were arrested and charged with violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Before trial, the medical-marijuana sellers moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that the entrapment by estoppel defense applied due to statements from federal officials suggesting that those who sold medical marijuana in compliance with state medical-marijuana laws would not face federal prosecution. In particular, the medical-marijuana sellers cited a US Department of Justice policy memorandum (DOJ memo) deprioritizing prosecution of those who sell medical marijuana in compliance with state medical-marijuana laws, similar public statements from presidential candidate and then President Barack Obama and members of the Obama campaign and administration (collectively, the Obama statements), news reports describing the Obama statements, and a statement from a tribal police officer who inspected the medical-marijuana sellers’ marijuana-growing operation and advised that “everything looks okay” with the operation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Christensen, J.)

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