Department of Revenue of Mont. v. Kurth Ranch, 511 U.S. 767, 6 (1994)

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Opinion of the Court

marijuana business and gave rise to four separate legal proceedings.

In one of those proceedings, the State filed criminal charges against all six respondents in the Montana District Court, charging each with conspiracy to possess drugs with the intent to sell, Mont. Code Ann. 45-4-102 (1987), or, in the alternative, possession of drugs with the intent to sell, 45-9-103.8 Each respondent initially pleaded not guilty, but subsequently entered into a plea agreement. On July 18, 1988, the court sentenced Richard Kurth and Judith Kurth to prison and imposed suspended or deferred sentences on the other four family members.9

The county attorney also filed a civil forfeiture action seeking recovery of cash and equipment used in the marijuana operation. The confiscated drugs were not involved in that action, presumably because law enforcement agents had destroyed them after an inventory. Respondents settled the forfeiture action with an agreement to forfeit $18,016.83 in cash and various items of equipment.

"Item #7: 1 bag of marijuana, 1/4 pound, "Item #8: 5 plastic bags of marijuana, total 2230 grams, "Item #9: approximately 100 pounds of marijuana stems, leaves, parts, etc." 145 B. R., at 66-67.

8 Plaintiff's Exhs. 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13; 145 B. R., at 64-65. Richard Kurth was also charged with criminal sale of dangerous drugs (marijuana), Mont. Code Ann. 45-9-101 (1987), criminal possession of a dangerous drug (marijuana) with intent to sell, 45-9-103, solicitation to commit the offense of criminal possession of a dangerous drug (marijuana) with intent to sell, 45-4-101, and criminal possession of a dangerous drug (hashish), 45-9-102. See Plaintiff's Exh. 3.

9 Because only one respondent, Richard Kurth, was adjudged guilty of the offense of possession (the other five pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count), Montana has suggested that only he has standing to argue that the tax on possession constitutes a second punishment for the same offense. Respondents counter that Montana's withdrawal of the possession charges pursuant to the plea agreements would bar a second prosecution for possession. The issue was not raised below, so we do not address it.

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