The Farmington man accused of running a multi-million dollar illegal pot operation is asking a federal judge to modify his bail conditions so he can use medically prescribed marijuana while awaiting trial.
Lucas Sirois, 41, argues that he has used pot, recommended by his physician, to alleviate back pain and ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome for the past 10 years.
If his request is granted, Sirois would become the first federal defendant in Maine facing drug charges to be allowed to use medical marijuana while on bail.
Sirois is accused of operating an illegal marijuana operation that sold $13 million in cannabis grown in western Maine ostensibly under the state’s medical marijuana program to non-medical patients across state lines as well as in Maine.
He’s one of a dozen people and three businesses who have been charged in connection with the marijuana operation. Others charged include former Franklin County sheriff’s deputies, a former western Maine prosecutor, a former Rangeley selectman and a former western Maine town manager.
Sirois has pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and tax evasion.
Sirois remains free on $50,000 cash bail secured by $300,000 in personal property, mostly vehicles. Conditions include that Sirois not handle marijuana or use marijuana even though he has a prescription for medical marijuana in Maine.
Although medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Maine, the federal government still considers it an illegal drug. Federal judges in Bangor and Portland routinely deny defendants’ requests to continue using medical marijuana while on bail.
Sirois’ attorney, Timothy Parlatore of New York City, claimed in his motion that since his client has not been allowed to use marijuana his neck pain and spasms have grown worse.
“These symptoms are limiting his ability to function, including bending and lifting,” the attorney wrote.
His irritable bowel syndrome also is more severe without medical marijuana, the motion said.
Palatore also argued that denying his client the ability to use medical marijuana violates the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that forbids the federal government from spending funds to interfere with states’ control of medical marijuana.
The attorney is asking that Sirois be allowed to use marijuana as prescribed or that Sirois be allowed to use CBD products and that random testing for its use be discontinued.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah Falk opposes the motion, arguing that other drugs could treat Sirois’ chronic pain and bowel problems. He noted that nearly every federal court in the nation has refused to allow federal defendants to use medical marijuana.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison has scheduled a remote hearing on the motion for 12:30 p.m. Friday.
If convicted, Sirois faces up to 30 years in prison on the most serious charges and could be fined up to $1 million. He also could be ordered to forfeit properties where marijuana was grown and other items deemed to have been purchased with illegal drug proceeds.