Adrian Moncrieffe plead guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after law enforcement officers found 1.3 grams of marijuana in his car. 1 Moncrieffe is a Jamaican citizen, having moved to this country with his parents when he was three years old, and following his conviction the government attempted to deport him. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a person convicted of an aggravated felony must be deported.
While the act does not clearly define the term “aggravated felony” it does state that “illicit trafficking in a controlled substance” is an aggravated felony. Generally these are drug crimes punishable by more than one year in prison. But under Federal law “distributing a small amount of marihuana [sic] for no remuneration” is a misdemeanor.
The Supreme Court, last week, ruled that since the Georgia statute does not differentiate between significant quantities of marijuana and small quanitities of marijuana and since it does not distinguish between distribution for remuneration and distributions that are not for remuneration, a conviction under the statute for possession with the intent to distribute marijuana can not be considered an aggravated felony. This does not mean that those convicted of violating the statute will not be deported. It only means that since violations of the statute are not aggravated felonies the judge will have more leeway in determining whether the particular offense deserves deportation.
- Maybe I am naive living on the left coast but I’ve never heard of anyone being charged with intent to distribute marijuana with only 1.3 grams seized from a automobile. ↩