BUTTE — While Charlton Campbell, one of the three federally indicted Montana Buds medical marijuana providers, has been set to plead guilty to drug charges for some time, it was unclear until Friday particularly why.
In an offer of proof of evidence pertaining to Campbell’s expected guilty plea filed on March 3 by the U.S. attorney, Campbell is accused of breaking Montana’s fluctuating medical marijuana laws, which opens him up to prosecution on federal drug charges, according to a recent federal court ruling.
According to the Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan McCarthy, had Campbell’s case gone to trial they would have presented evidence that Campbell was convicted of felony aggravated kidnapping and burglary charges in Gallatin County in 1995, and therefore is prohibited by the Montana Marijuana Act from being a provider.
When medical marijuana was first legalized in Montana by referendum in 2004, only those convicted of felony drug offenses were barred by law from being providers. In 2011, the Legislature expanded provider prohibitions to include all felons. According to the Montana Secretary of State, Montana Buds was registered as an entity in 2010.
Jon Ebelt, spokesman for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, said local law enforcement members are given the names of providers in their jurisdiction; the providers must also undergo a fingerprint background check by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
The Department of Public Health and Human Services does not release information on individual providers within the Montana Marijuana Program, and could not comment on how a felon like Campbell became or remained a provider.
The prosecution also said it could prove Campbell sold illegal quantities under the Montana Marijuana Act of marijuana, totaling one pound, over the counter