Photo: Will Waldron, Albany Times Union
And neither is a judge.
On Oct. 18, U.S. Attorney Grant Jaquith’s office asked Senior U.S. District Judge Norman Mordue to prohibit defendant Stanley Nadoraski – a former Albany police detective who pleaded guilty in 2009 to possessing child pornography – from using “any form” of the hemp-derived product while on supervised release. It contains THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that causes users to feel high, the office noted.
Nadoraski’s attorney, Michael McGeown-Walker, recently informed Mordue that his client would like to use CBD–oil to help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Nadoraski has previously violated the conditions of his parole by using marijuana.
Hemp is no longer included in the definition of marijuana within the federal Controlled Substances Act, according to the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act enacted in December. Still, the THC level in hemp-derived products by law cannot be more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. If it does, the product it will be considered a Schedule I drug – one with a “high potential for abuse” on par with heroin – under federal law.
“First, many CBD oil products sold at the retail level contain concentrations of THC higher than 0.3% despite labels to the contrary,” stated a sentencing memo Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Belliss sent to Mordue. He said both probation officials and Nadoraski have an interest to ensure Nadoraski “does not knowingly ingest an illegal or controlled substance.”
Belliss noted that current drug lab testing cannot distinguish whether THC came from CBD oil or marijuana. If someone who used CBD oil provided a urine sample and it tested positive for THC, neither prosecutors nor probation officers would know the true reason for the positive test, the prosecutor told Mordue.
Nadoraski, 51, received 2 1/3 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release in 2010. Nadoraski violated conditions of his release in 2014 and again in 2015 for using marijuana. His third violation was last month – this time for using marijuana six times in the last two years, including three dates in September. He also used a work smart phone for personal use and bought an Internet-accessible television in 2017, his probation office said.
On Monday, Mordue agreed with prosecutors. He sentenced Nadoraski to three months in prison for the violation and five more years of supervised release. The judge also will not allow Nadoraski to use CBD oil.
On Oct. 15, McGeown-Walker told the judge in a letter that Nadoraski uses marijuana to “maintain his sanity.” His client’s downward spiral from police hero to sex offender began after he retired. Nadoraski survived a November 1999 shooting while trying to arrest a man on North Swan Street. Nadoraski suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, his lawyer said.
McGeown-Walker told the judge his client would like to use CBD oil as an alternative to marijuana. In his sentencing submission he noted that Albany County District Attorney David Soares has since Dec. 1, 2018 declined to prosecute cases involving simple possession of less than two ounces of marijuana.
In May, Nadoraski wrote a letter to Mordue asking for early release from his supervision. Nadoraski mentioned that he completed a 90-day stay at a halfway house in Albany without any issues and had participated in a 16-week drug counseling group.
“During times of extreme stress and anxiety, which lasts for several days, the only two choices I can see at the moment is smoke a little marijuana or kill myself. It is that severe,” Nadoraski told the judge. “In times without extreme stress and anxiety, there are clearly more options than those two – and I do use them during those times. I’m trying to learn and condition myself to be able to see those other options when I’m in crisis.”