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Appeals court upholds charges in medical marijuana arrests

January 28, 2022 GMT

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld charges against two men accused of being part of a large drug ring in Maine that sold medical marijuana to people who were not patients.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled Thursday that the prosecution of the two men was not prohibited under federal protections granted to states by Congress to regulate medical marijuana, the Bangor Daily News reported.

In their appeal, the two defendants, Tyler Poland and amateur golfer Brian Bilodeau, argued they shouldn’t be charged because of those protections, the newspaper reported.

“The conduct that drew the government’s attention was the defendants’ cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana aimed at supplying persons whom no defendant ever thought were qualifying patients under Maine law,” Judge William Kayatta wrote in the ruling.

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An attorney for Bilodeau, Jamesa Drake, did not immediately return a request for comment from the newspaper.

The men were among more than 12 people who were arrested in 2018 for allegedly selling marijuana grown under the auspices of a medical marijuana business. Police raided 20 properties in the Lewiston-Auburn area in February of that year and confiscated 600 pounds of marijuana and several expensive cars.

The defendants included people from Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts.

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, but 36 states have allowed it in some form, including Maine, which legalized adult use.