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United States v. Jason Burns, Jesse Leland, and Joshua Schultz (2011-2012, Helena, MT)

posted Feb 3, 2013, 1:35 PM by The Editor   [ updated Jun 6, 2013, 3:31 AM ]
In March 2011, federal authorities launched a statewide crackdown on Montana medical marijuana providers.  Criminal search warrants were executed on 26 locations in 13 Montana cities on March 14, 2011.  Approximately thirty law enforcement agencies were involved in the raids, which occurred at the culmination of an 18-month investigation.

Helena residents Jason Burns, Jesse Leland, and Joshua Schultz were charged on 25 counts including manufacturing, distribution, possession, money laundering, and conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Missoula.  The government also sought the forfeiture of at least $1,364,000 traceable to the alleged criminal activity.  The three defendants initially pleaded not guilty on June 23, 2011, and a trial date was set for August 8, 2011. 

Jesse Leland, 28, and Jason Burns, 40, operated Queen City Caregivers, LLC of Helena, MT.  The medical marijuana patients obained a business license from the Secretary of State and allowed local law enforement to count 749 plants growing at Westhaven Road nursery. Joshua Schultz, 38, operated Natural Medicine of Great Falls, MT.

All three defendants entered pleas to avoid going to trial (facing up to 40 years and prison and fines up to $5,000,000).  On Sept. 7, 2011, Schultz pleaded guilty to one charge of distributing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.  On September 13, 2011, Leland pleaded guilty to a single charge of manufacturing marijuana. On September 23, 2011, Burns pleaded guilty to charges of cultivating marijuana and money laundering. 

Burns, Leland, and Schultz were sentenced on December 15, 2011 to one year in prison and all remaining charges were dropped.  Despite the fact that the official recommendation called for a sentence of 24 to 30 months, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell exercised discretion under the "unusual circumstances" of a case in which state law conflicts with federal law.  Burns was sentenced to three years of supervised probation following his release.  Leland and Schultz each received four years of supervised probation.

Last updated February 3, 2013 by Lex Libreman for WEED WARS: United States v. Marijuana.


Byron, Eve. "Medical Marijuana Caregivers Charged by Feds." Helena Independent Record, 24 June 2011. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <>.

Byron, Eve. "Three Men Get 1-year Sentences for Medical Marijuana Operations." Helena Independent Record, 16 Dec. 2011. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <>.