Marijuana

Punishment for Hash Brownie Baker Drops From 10 Years in Prison to Seven Years of Probation

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Fox 7

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Jacob Lavoro, the Texas teenager who originally faced a sentence of 10 years to life after he was caught with a pound and a half of hash-infused cookies and brownies, will get seven years of probation under a plea deal with the Williamson County District Attorney's Office. The dramatic penalty reduction became possible after prosecutors dropped a first-degree felony charge that treated Lavoro's baked goods as if they consisted entirely of hash oil. Instead he pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony, possession of four to 400 grams of hash oil.

Probation is what you would expect for a first-time offender charged with a low-level, nonviolent crime, which raises the question of why prosecutors dangled a long prison term over Lavoro's head for months after his arrest last April. That threat attracted nationwide attention, driven by dismay at the insanely harsh way that Texas law treats offenses involving marijuana concentrates. Williamson County First District Attorney Mark Brunner at first implied that he had no choice, only to discover some leeway as the criticism mounted (much like Jim McClain, the New Jersey prosecutor in the Shaneen Allen case). It probably also helped Lavoro that what counts as a felony in Texas is now a legitimate occupation in Colorado and Washington.

[Thanks to Marc Sandhaus for the tip.]