Federal Judge Delays Sentencing After Oregon Legalizes Marijuana


The case of Bounlith "Bong" Bouasykeo is not really that unusual from a marijuana selling and arrest standpoint. Mr. Bouasykeo was arrested, and pled guilty, for his role in a marijuana dealing enterprise that involved 36 pounds. That's not uncommon, as that happens in Oregon and other states fairly frequently. But what makes Mr. Bouasykeo's case different is that when Mr. Bouasykeo flew from Texas to Oregon this week to be sentenced, the federal judge overseeing the case decided to delay sentencing to try to wrap his head around how Oregon's approval of marijuana legalization earlier in the week affects the sentencing.

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Usually prosecutors and judges, especially federally, like to get their licks in before the new law takes effect. That's certainly what United States attorney Amanda Marshall wanted to do when she offered up quotes to the Oregonian stating that she will proceed with business as usual, despite the clear message from Oregon voters that they think prohibition enforcement is a failure. U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman was as suprised as anyone to read Ms. Marshall's quotes. Per Oregon Live:

Mosman told the court that he read a story in The Oregonian in which U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said Tuesday's passage of Measure 91, which legalized recreational use of marijuana, won't change how her office views the drug.

Marshall noted in the interview that she was particularly concerned about how Oregon will keep marijuana from leaking to the black market, a problem confronted by Colorado officials since pot was legalized in 2012.

"I'm unsurprised by Ms. Marshall's opinion," Mosman said.

Mr. Mosman delayed sentencing in the trial until Dec. 11 at 11:30 a.m.. While I'm hopeful that the case will be dismissed, I'd imagine that there will still ultimately be a sentence handed down, but a lower sentence than the Petitioner would have originally received prior to marijuana legalization being approved on Election Day.