HELENA, Mont. (AP) A lobbyist who became the face of the effort to legalize medical marijuana in Montana and helped draft the initiative approved by voters in 2004 won't see jail time on a federal conviction related to the pot business he co-founded.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced Daubert Thursday in Missoula to five years' probation. Daubert had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises, a charge that stems from the 2011 raid of a Montana Cannabis, the medical marijuana provider Daubert co-founded in 2009.
One of Daubert's partners, Chris Lindsey, pleaded guilty Thursday to the same charge. That afternoon, the family of a third Montana Cannabis partner, Richard Flor, held a protest in Helena as federal officials spoke out for the first time about his sudden death while in custody.
Daubert's attorney, Peter Lacny, said he believes the judge took his client's history and background into consideration in handing down the sentence. Prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence between 6 1/2 and eight years.
"He was pretty worried going into the sentencing," Lacny said of Daubert. "I think it's going to take a few days to get his head on and then go back to working in various ways to the benefit of Montanans."
Daubert started his lobbying and public relations firm, Daubert Associates, in 1985. He has represented businesses and local governments before the state Legislature and spearheaded initiative advocacy campaigns.
The Missoula resident received the Bureau of Land Management's Public Lands Award in 1997 for his grant writing and fundraising to support preserving the Garnet Ghost Town.
In recent years, he was best known as the director for Patients and Families United, a medical marijuana advocacy group that lobbied to allow severely ill patients to use the drug. He helped draft Initiative 148, which passed in 2004 and made medical marijuana legal in Montana.
Five years later, he started Montana Cannabis with Lindsey, Flor and Chris Williams. A fifth partner left the business soon after its founding.
Lindsey's sentencing was set for Dec. 13. Williams, the only partner to reject any plea agreement, is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 24.