United States v. Hurley, No. 15-2541 (1st Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute, controlled substances. The presentence report attributed 1,451.7 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoid product to Defendant, an amount Defendant did not contest. At issue during the sentencing hearing was whether Defendant’s product was most similar to THC or marihuana. The district court ruled that THC was the appropriate comparator drug. Because one kilogram of THC is equivalent to 167 kilograms of marihuana under the Guidelines, the district court found that Defendant was responsible for 242,434 kilograms of marihuana. The district court ultimately imposed a sentence of 114 months. The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s sentence, holding (1) there was no plain error in the district court’s conclusion that THC was the proper comparator for the synthetic cannabinoids Defendant possessed; and (2) the district court correctly applied the 1:167 multiplier listed in the Guidelines and calculated the recommended sentence.