Thomas, 19, had faced up to a year in prison for possessing a single gram of cannabis, according to his lawyer, public defender Ruben Iniguez. He likely faced the federal charges because the alleged cannabis possession happened at the Chemawa Indian School, a boarding school run by the federal Bureau of Indian Education for Native American students.
“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,” Rep. Blumenauer said.“My hope is that this sets a precedent that federal prosecutors should not be wasting time and resources on low level marijuana crimes.”“I don’t want kids using marijuana, but to have the heavy hand of the law in a case like this — when there are so many other much more serious issues — I think is a misallocation of resources,” Blumenauer told KGW.
“The federal government hasn’t prosecuted a marijuana-possession case in Oregon in five years,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told the Willamette Week. “Situations like this are best left to be handled by the state.”
Recently, Congressman 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 both U.S. Senators from Oregon, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.
Prosecutors had expected Thomas to plead guilty to the possession charge and enter a six-month treatment program. But at a court appearance in July, his lawyer announced that he would fight the charge and request a jury trial.