Project Description

Tom Dean Standing Outside His Office

Tom won an important case at the Guam Supreme Court involving a Rastafarian’s right to smoke marijuana for religious purposes. While the defendant was represented by local counsel, at the defendant’s request, Tom filed an Amicus Curiae brief on his behalf. Tom urged the Supreme Court to recognize that a Rastafarian had the right to use marijuana under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The amicus curiae brief was filed through NORML and was joined by the ACLU. The case was successful, and the government appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Tom then handed the case over to the ACLU which asserted the same theory that Tom had developed and argued before the Guam Supreme Court. The decision was affirmed by the 9th Circuit and for the first time a US Circuit Court of Appeals recognized the right for a Rastafarian to smoke marijuana for religious purposes on federally owned land. See Guam v. Guerrero, 290 F.3d 1210, 1221 (9th Cir. 2002).