Submitted: May 15, 2018
from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - St. Paul
SHEPHERD, MELLOY, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.
MELLOY, Circuit Judge.
Edward Schostag appeals the district
court's modification of his terms of his
supervised release to include a standard condition explicitly
prohibiting the use of medical marijuana. We affirm.
December 2008, Schostag pleaded guilty to felon in possession
of a firearm and attempted possession of methamphetamine with
the intent to distribute. He was sentenced to 120 months'
imprisonment and 5 years' supervised release. Schostag
began serving his supervised release in October 2015.
terms of Schostag's supervised release require him to
follow certain court-imposed conditions, including
statutorily mandated conditions, standard conditions imposed
across the district, and special conditions specifically
tailored to his circumstances. The mandatory conditions
require Schostag to "not commit another federal, state
or local crime," to "not unlawfully possess a
controlled substance," and to "refrain from any
unlawful use of a controlled substance." Standard
Condition 7 states Schostag "shall not purchase,
possess, use, distribute, or administer any controlled
substance or paraphernalia related to any controlled
substances, except as prescribed by a physician."
Special Condition (a) states he "shall not commit any
crimes, federal, state, or local." And, Special
Condition (f) states he "shall take any prescribed
medications as directed by his medical provider."
2014, the state of Minnesota began allowing physicians to
prescribe certain forms of medical marijuana. See
Minn. Stat. §§ 152.22-37. In April 2017, Schostag
notified his probation officer that his physician prescribed
him medical marijuana for chronic pain. Specifically,
Schostag was prescribed vaporized oil containing
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The probation officer informed
Schostag his use of marijuana-even if prescribed-was
prohibited under federal law and in violation of his
supervised release. In May 2017, Schostag tested positive for
marijuana. The probation officer filed a Petition on
Supervised Release and a Violation Report.
revocation hearing, Schostag admitted to using marijuana.
However, Schostag argued he was following the orders of his
physician, in compliance with Standard Condition 7 and
Special Condition (f) of his supervised release. To clarify
any confusion, the district court modified the terms of
Schostag's supervised release to include the following
[t]he defendant shall not purchase, possess, use, distribute
or administer marijuana or obtain or possess a medical
marijuana card or prescription. This condition supersedes
standard condition number 7 with respect to marijuana only.
applying the modification, the district court discussed the
inherent challenges in pain management, noting "so many
of the pain medications are highly narcotic and highly
addictive." Accordingly, the court delayed imposing the
modification for two weeks to allow Schostag to find
alternative means to address his chronic pain and did not
find Schostag in violation of his supervised release.
Standard of Review
"[d]istrict courts enjoy broad discretion in the
imposition or modification of conditions for terms of
supervised release, and we review only for abuse of
discretion." United States v. Davies, 380 F.3d
329, 332 (8th Cir. 2004); see also United States v.
Nixon, 839 F.3d 885, 887 (9th Cir. 2016) (per curiam)
(reviewing a district court's probationary condition
prohibiting possession or use of medical marijuana for abuse
of discretion). However, we ...