Oregon court upholds conviction of man who intended to drive 4 pounds of pot to Washington

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a Washington man’s 2011 conviction of two marijuana-related felonies after he was found with four pounds of pot that he said was destined for medical marijuana patients.

Scott Q. Shupe, 61, of Spokane, was stopped in Wasco County in 2009 by Oregon State Police who discovered the marijuana in his car. Shupe was later convicted of unlawful delivery and marijuana possession and sentenced to 25 months in prison.

Shupe, according to court records, obtained marijuana in Bend and told authorities he planned to “dispense” it to Washington medical marijuana patients.

Shupe, his lawyer Leland Berger said, was excited about the election of President Barack Obama and in 2009 opened a Spokane medical marijuana dispensary called “Change.”

Berger argued that Shupe should be protected from prosecution in Oregon because ultimately the delivery of marijuana to patients was “not a crime” in Washington.

The appellate court rejected that argument.

Shupe, the court stated in its opinion issued Thursday, “has identified no legal authority for the proposition that his act of transporting four pounds of marijuana through Oregon would not be a crime in Oregon if his ultimate intended delivery in Washington would have been lawful under Washington law, and we have been able to locate no authority to support that proposition.”

Berger, who called the opinion “disappointing,” said he plans to petition the court for reconsideration as well as ask the Oregon Supreme Court to review the case.

Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley disputed Shupe’s claim that he was helping Washington medical marijuana patients.

“Under the eyes of the law at the time,” said Nisley, “he was a commercial drug dealer.”

Oregon marijuana policy has changed dramatically since Shupe’s arrest in 2009. Not only has marijuana been legalized for recreational use, Oregon lawmakers have reduced criminal penalties related to the drug.

Under current law, for instance, Shupe’s crimes would be misdemeanors.

Noelle Crombie

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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