Prosecutors to Drop Charges Against Oregon Teen Devontre Thomas


Even those that don’t support legalizing cannabis were hard pressed to support the federal government threatening Oregon teen Devontre Thomas with a year long prison term over about a gram of marijuana. Drug War reform advocates and concerned citizens across the nation were frankly appalled of such a harsh sentence facing a nonviolent teenager in a state that had legalized cannabis with over 56% of the vote in 2014.

Thomas’ attorney, Ruben Iniguez worked tirelessly for his client and he left me a message stating that the charges would be dismissed in 60 days so long as Thomas stayed out of trouble and stayed employed and/or in school, conditions he was confident the teen would fulfill. Iniguez thanked advocates for reaching out and offering to help with Thomas’ case.

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer, who should be commended for speaking out in favor of sensible cannabis laws, all expressed their concern over Thomas’ pending charges. Congressman Blumenauer released a press release today:

Blumenauer Statement on U.S. Attorney Decision to Drop Charges Against Oregonian Teen for Marijuana

Portland, Ore. – Today, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) released the following statement on the decision by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon to drop charges against Oregonian teen, Devontre Thomas, for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

“While I am pleased to see the U.S. Attorney drop the charges in the case of 19-year-old Devontre Thomas, I’m still concerned that this Office thought it was worth prosecuting in the first place. My hope is that this sets a precedent that federal prosecutors should not be wasting time and resources on low level marijuana crimes.”

Recently, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer led a letter to U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, expressing concerns about the drug prosecution priorities of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

It is great news that Devontre Thomas can put this unfortunate plight behind him and get on with his life in a couple of months. Like Congressman Blumenauer stated, hopefully this case will set a precedent and U.S. Attorneys across the nation will stop bringing these wasteful cases against nonviolent citizens.

This post was originally published by New Approach Oregon, reposted with special permission. 

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.