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United States v. Honneus

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Defendant, Geoffrey Honneus, was convicted of crimes arising from the purchase and importation of large quantities of a substances alleged to be marijuana. Defendant claims that the Government did not prove that he was guilty of dealing with “Cannabis sativa L,†as required by the regulation.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    The regulation must be interpreted with the knowledge and perception that Congress had at the time of the regulation enactment.

    Facts.

    Defendant alleged that the Government did not prove that he was guilty of dealing with Cannabis sativa L.  Further, Defendant introduced Dr. Richard Schultes testimony in which Dr. Schultes stated that genus Cannabis only derived from one plant.  A generation later, Lamarck named a Cannabis specimen from India “indica.† Likewise, in the 1920’s Russian botanist published a study naming a third variant in the genus Cannabis named “ruderalis.† Nevertheless, Dr. Schultes the “usually accepted view,†ignored the other two specimen findings, and claimed there was only one species of Cannabis.  Now, Dr. Schultes agrees with the previous studies and believes Cannabis is composed of three species. Moreover, the district court held that Congress meant to include all specimens of marihuana producing Cannabis when using the term “Cannabis sativa L.â€

    Issue.

    Whether Congress intended to include all marijuana producing Cannabis when it used the term “Cannabis sativa L.â€

    Held.

    Yes, Congress intended the term “Cannabis sativa L†to embrace all marihuana producing Cannabis because the other named sorts were not considered as a separate Cannabis species at the time of regulation’s enactment.

    Discussion.

    Although there is evidence of confusing terminology, Congress did not intend to exclude from the regulation any type of plant that produces hallucinogenic material known as marihuana.  Defendant claims that solely the sativa specimen was selected because sativa was the most commonly grown specimen in America.  However, the court rejected Defendant’s argument because Congress abided by Dr. Schultes’ view, “the usually accepted one,†at the time of the regulations enactment, which embraces all specimens of Cannabis as “Cannabis sativa L.â€



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