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Tom Daubert

Medical marijuana activist Tom Daubert received five years' probation at his sentencing on Thursday in U.S. District ourt in Missoula.

MISSOULA -- Medical marijuana activist Tom Daubert has been sentenced to five years’ probation in a federal drug case.

Although the charge of conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises -- to which Daubert pleaded guilty in April -- carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison, “I do not believe this case warrants imprisonment,” U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen said Thursday.

Daubert, the driving force behind Montana’s 2004 voter initiative that legalized the medical use of marijuana in Montana, was among several people charged after federal raids on medical marijuana operations around the state in March 2011.

On Thursday, Christensen noted the “unique” factors that applied to Daubert. Although Daubert had been a partner in the Montana Cannabis grow operation in Helena that was among those raided, he’d left the business before the raids.

Daubert also lobbied long and hard for stricter state regulations of the state’s medical marijuana industry, and -- while he was still with Montana Cannabis -- routinely conducted greenhouse tours for lawmakers and law enforcement officers.

Christensen also sentenced Daubert to pay a total of $50,000 in forfeiture and other fees, which he’s already paid, as well as a standard $100 fee.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Thaggard sought prison time for Daubert.

Acknowledging that “this is not the normal sentencing and this is not the normal defendant,” Thaggard argued that Daubert is “a talented man, but he also used those talents to exercise leadership in a conspiracy.”

Daubert said after the sentencing that he’s “grateful for the judge’s leniency and mercy.”

Peter Lacny of Missoula, one of his defense attorneys, noted that he’d submitted more than 70 letters of character reference in the case, more than in any other case that he’s handled.

“We were very impressed that Judge Christensen took the time to look at them, and note the differences in this case from the other medical marijuana cases,” Lacny said.