Last month, a federal judge parted ways with conventional harsh penalties for medical marijuana by sentencing Tom Daubert to five years of probation and rejecting prosecutors’ recommendation of six to eight years in prison for his one-time participation in a medical marijuana dispensary, considered legal under state law. Daubert, who was represented by some of the best lawyers in the country and whose story was featured in an award-winning documentary, was one of the lucky ones. Richard Flor, one of Daubert’s partners who continued on with the marijuana dispensary after Daubert withdrew, died in federal custody in August. And many of the patients they once served now have nowhere to turn, after federal officials demolished the state’s industry, with raids on 26 dispensaries, and a threatened roll-back of the state law allowing medical marijuana.
But even with the light punishment, the longtime Montana lobbyist who had aspired to make his medical marijuana dispensary a model for compliance with state law is now a criminal in the eyes of the law.
Daubert had been a highly successful lobbyist and public relations consultant for more than 20 years before he was approached about helping with a medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2004. He held degrees from Princeton and the University of Montana. Now, at almost 60 years old, Daubert is required to inform his probation officer when he leaves the county, to let his officer into his house at any time of day or night, and to answer any question he is asked.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Daubert describes the crushing consequences of the demolition of Montana’s medical marijuana community: