Prosecutor: Ex-pot lobbyist should serve probation

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Federal prosecutors oppose a former medical marijuana lobbyist’s request to be removed from probation so he can rebuild his career and tend to his ailing mother without travel restrictions.

Tom Daubert, 61, this month requested an early termination of his probation sentence on a conviction of maintaining a drug-involved premises, saying future supervision is not necessary for him to abide by the law.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thaggard said in a response filed Thursday that early termination is reserved for rare cases of exceptionally good behavior. Daubert has simply complied with the terms of his probation for a year, and that does not justify a release from his conditions, Thaggard said.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen has not ruled on Daubert’s request.

Daubert, a prominent lobbyist and consultant who helped draft Montana’s 2004 medical marijuana ballot initiative, was a founder of a medical pot business that was shuttered in a statewide crackdown in 2011.

He was sentenced to five years of probation, one of the more lenient sentences among the 33 convictions from the crackdown on large marijuana providers in the state. He began serving the sentence in September 2012.

Daubert’s attorney, Peter Lacny, said in his request that Daubert is aware the sentence was compassionate and lenient, but the effects of the sentence have taken a harsh toll on his life.

The restrictions of his probation include being questioned by authorities at any time, unannounced searches of his home, monthly scrutiny of his finances and advance permission to travel out of state.

Daubert’s political consulting career is ruined, and he is going deeper in debt while he tries to rebuild it, Lacny wrote. Daubert complied with his probation officer’s order to decline a job offer to consult on a marijuana ballot issue, even though he questioned whether his status required him to do so, the attorney said.

Meanwhile, Daubert’s 83-year-old mother, who lives outside of Montana, is trying to recover from two surgeries from a broken hip, and he holds power of attorney. Releasing Daubert from probation will let him travel to take care of her, Lacny said.

Thaggard responded that Daubert can seek a travel permit from his probation officer or he can apply to transfer his case to where his mother lives, but her health does not justify an early termination of probation.

Thaggard also said there is every reason to believe that Daubert can earn a living while on probation by “applying his talents to issues that do not touch on drugs.”

“That sort of advocacy, of course, is what led the Defendant to enter into the conspiracy which caused the court to place him on probation in the first place,” Thaggard wrote, referring to the job offer to consult on the pot ballot issue.

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