Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Marihuana Equivalency Spreadsheets

But first, a quick correction: Earlier this week, I reported a cert. grant in a Kansas case I mistakenly identified as United States v. Johnson. The case is in fact Nichols v. United States, as the blog post now reflects.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: Marihuana with an "H."

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When a drug case involves multiple controlled substances, the base offense level is calculated using U.S.S.G. 2D1.1, Application Note 8(B). This guideline sets a marihuana equivalent for each gram of the commonly encountered controlled substances. The sum of the marihuana equivalents is then used to determine the base offense level under the drug quantity table found at 2D1.1(c).

Last year we published our Marihuana Equivalency Spreadsheet, which calculated marihuana equivalents for common drugs based on the Nov 1, 2014 Sentencing Guidelines section 2D1.1, Application Note 8(B), and provided a base offense level based on the total quantity of marihuana equivalents.

In 2014, the DEA reclassified hydrocodone from Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance.  This change was incorporated into 2D1.1 by U.S.S.G. Amendment 793, which changed the marihuana equivalency ratio for hydrocodone (actual) to 6,600 grams of marihuana for each gram of actual hydrocodone.  We updated our Marihuana Equivalency spreadsheet to reflect this change. Our revised Marihuana Equivalency Spreadsheet now calculates marihuana equivalents based on the Nov 1, 2015 Sentencing Guidelines.

The Marihuana Equivalency spreadsheets do not account for the reduction in offense level when the accused receives a mitigating role as provided in U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(a)(5), or any applicable reduction for acceptance of responsibility as allowed by U.S.S.G. 3E1.1. The spreadsheets also do not account for enhancements for specific offense characteristics found at 2D1.1(b), or enhancements from Chapter 3 or Chapter 4, Part B of the Guidelines. Finally, our spreadsheets do not apply to offenses covered by U.S.S.G. 2D1.11, Unlawfully Distributing, Importing, Exporting or Possessing a Listed Chemical; Attempt or Conspiracy.

Both spreadsheets are available for download on our CJA website. Thanks to David Freund for this valuable tool and the above explanation.

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