Sunday, September 04, 2011

Court Rejects Religious Use of Marijuana For Drug Dealer On Supervised Release

In United States v. Lafley, (9th Cir., Sept. 1, 2011), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a federal district court did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when it imposed as a condition of supervised release the requirement that a convicted methamphetamine dealer not possess or use controlled substances, including marijuana. Defendant, who had joined the Montana Cannabis Ministries, argued that he is entitled to an exemption from this standard term of supervised release. The court concluded, however, that the government has a compelling interest in preventing a convicted drug felon from using drugs during his supervised release, and that the terms imposed are the least restrictive means of advancing that interest. It rejected as imposing too burdensome a monitoring requirement on probation officers defendant's claim that he should be allowed religious, but not recreational, use of marijuana.