HELENA, Montana — A federal judge has reduced the prison sentence of a former Missoula medical marijuana provider despite an appellate court's ruling to consider increasing the two-year sentence.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen on Wednesday reduced Jason Washington's prison sentence to time served plus four years of supervised release.
Washington was sentenced to two years in prison in May 2013 after being convicted of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Prosecutors appealed, seeking a prison term of five years. They argued that Washington's sentence should be enhanced because he was the manager or supervisor of a drug operation that grew more than 1,000 plants, had two dispensaries and several employees.
In June, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directed Christensen to reconsider his ruling, saying it was too lenient.
Christensen again ruled Wednesday that a sentencing enhancement does not apply to Washington, noting that two other people were the initial operators of the business and backed Washington financially and that Washington worked alongside experts and consultants who were drawn to the business.
"I know you believe you've been treated unfairly in this case," Christensen told Washington, after ruling he should be released from prison three months early. "My hope is that maybe we all can find a way to bring this to an end and move on with our respective lives."
Federal prosecutor Tara Elliott told Christensen the government would reserve the right to appeal the new sentence, the Missoulian reported.
Washington, 31, was taken to the Missoula County jail to fill out paperwork before he could be released.