On Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) held a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

During Wednesday's public hearing, Phillip Talbert, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California expressed his support for the inclusion of simple possession of marijuana convictions as a reason for downward departure, without any intent to distribute or sell.

When issuing sentences, federal judges must take prior convictions, such as state-level cannabis offenses, into account as …

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