Judge: Should legal pot affect criminal sentences?

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2014 8:30 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Oregon delayed the sentencing of a convicted marijuana smuggler, saying a national trend in legalizing the drug could affect how seriously the crime is punished.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman said in a transcript that he wants to take the executive branch's "evolving or shifting views" into consideration when sentencing marijuana crimes, The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1ujCtdy ) reported Monday.

Marijuana in any form or amount remains illegal under federal law.

"I'm not suggesting that what's on the table is that the whole case ought to go away or anything like that," Mosman said. "But would something like that at the margins have some sort of impact on my sentencing considerations?"

Mosman, a former U.S. attorney who is also serving on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, said he was not suggesting the abolition of federal marijuana cases. However, he did say perception is shifting.

Mosman said he did not want to suggest that he agreed on marijuana legalization.

It was the first time a judge in Oregon's federal judicial district raised the sentencing issue after voters in the state on Nov. 4 approved recreational use of marijuana beginning next year.

Oregon and Alaska have joined Washington and Colorado as states approving legal pot.

Mosman spoke during the sentencing of Bounlith "Bong" Bouasykeo, a convicted bulk marijuana runner from Texas.

Bouasykeo's next court date was set for Dec. 11.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com