A Viroqua man convicted of a felony marijuana charge for receiving 5.1 pounds of high grade marijuana through the U.S. Mail was sentenced to six months in county jail, Monday.

Brandon Thom, 29, will be credited with 72 days served and be allowed work-release privileges. Thom was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.

Thom was found guilty in early August for receiving the marijuana on Jan. 20 at the post office in Viroqua. The marijuana arrived in two parcels from California. Vernon County District Attorney Timothy Gaskell said Thom stood to profit by $10,000 by selling the marijuana.

Gaskell said that "years ago" Thom had been arrested in Nevada while transporting approximately 2 pounds of marijuana.

"This is an unusual case in Vernon County as when we see marijuana delivery cases we're talking about grams and ounces, we're not talking about pounds coming in from another state," Gaskell said.

Gaskell said that the court system in Nev-ada al-lowed Thom to agree to a diversion agreement, but then Thom left the state. Christopher A. Doerfler, Thom's attorney, said that Thom has completely changed his life since his arrest. Also, while Thom had no support system in Nevada, he has a family in Viroqua who cares for him and he has a steady job. Also, Thom has had no violations while out on bond.

"I have taken drastic life changes from what I was," Thom said.

Before delivering his sentence, Judge Michael Rosborough said Thom's case shows how marijuana is dealt with differently in criminal justice systems across the country.

"We focus on marijuana as a criminal justice issue first and a public health issue second, but look at all the problems it causes," Rosborough said.

Thom was allowed to begin serving his jail sentence on Oct. 10 with work-release privileges.

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