SCOTUS Justice’s Marijuana Comments Should Help Federal Prisoner Win Freedom, Attorney Says

MJ moment

Lawyers for a man serving time in federal prison for operating a state-legal medical marijuana dispensary are making the case that a U.S. Supreme Court justice’s recent statement denouncing the inconsistencies of federal cannabis policy underscore the need for the relief to be granted to their client. Luke Scarmazzo, who was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison while acting in compliance with California’s marijuana laws, filed a motion for compassionate release in June. And his legal team recently submitted a supplementary brief that cites statements from one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas. While the high court recently declined to take up case related to an Internal Revenue Service investigation into tax deductions claimed by a Colorado marijuana dispensary, Thomas issued a statement that more broadly addressed the federal-state marijuana disconnect. Now, Scarmazzo’s team is arguing that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California should take the justice’s comments into account when considering his motion for compassionate release. Scarmazzo was also one of numerous people incarcerated over marijuana who advocates sought a commutation for from the Trump administration. Thomas wrote that the “contradictory and unstable state of affairs strains basic principles of federalism and conceals traps for the unwary,” adding that “though federal law still flatly forbids the intrastate possession, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana,” the government “has sent mixed signals on its views.” The new brief from Scarmazzo’s attorneys notes that the court has authority to grant relief if there is “extraordinary and compelling reason,” and it lists a number of circumstances that the defendant’s counsel say meets that standard. That includes the fact that Scarmazzo’s father was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and he has the blood type to provide a transplant, and also that his sentence would have been reduced…

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Source : SCOTUS Justice’s Marijuana Comments Should Help Federal Prisoner Win Freedom, Attorney Says

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