Amendment: Section 2D1.1(a)(3) is amended by striking "below." and inserting ", except that if the defendant receives an adjustment under §3B1.2 (Mitigating Role), the base offense level under this subsection shall be not more than level 30.".
The Commentary to §2D1.1 captioned "Application Notes" is amended in Note 11 in the "TYPICAL WEIGHT PER UNIT (DOSE, PILL, OR CAPSULE) TABLE" by striking "MDA* 100 mg" and inserting the following:
"MDA 250 mg
MDMA 250 mg".
The Commentary to §2D1.1 captioned "Application Notes" is amended by adding at the end the following:
"21. Applicability of Subsection (b)(6).—The applicability of subsection (b)(6) shall be determined without regard to whether the defendant was convicted of an offense that subjects the defendant to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. Section §5C1.2(b), which provides a minimum offense level of level 17, is not pertinent to the determination of whether subsection (b)(6) applies.".
Section 2D1.8(a)(2) is amended by striking "16" and inserting "26".
The Commentary to §3B1.2 captioned "Application Notes" is amended by adding at the end the following:
"6. Application of Role Adjustment in Certain Drug Cases.—In a case in which the court applied §2D1.1 and the defendant’s base offense level under that guideline was reduced by operation of the maximum base offense level in §2D1.1(a)(3), the court also shall apply the appropriate adjustment under this guideline.".
Reason for Amendment: This amendment responds to concerns that the guidelines pertaining to drug offenses do not satisfactorily reflect the culpability of certain offenders. The amendment also clarifies the operation of certain provisions in §2D1.1 (Unlawful Manufacturing, Importing, Exporting, or Trafficking (Including Possession with Intent to Commit These Offenses); Attempt or Conspiracy).
First, the amendment increases the maximum base offense level under subsection (a)(2) of §2D1.8 (Renting or Managing a Drug Establishment; Attempt or Conspiracy) from level 16 to level 26. This part of the amendment responds to concerns that §2D1.8 did not adequately punish defendants convicted under 21 U.S.C. § 856, pertaining to the establishment of manufacturing operations. That statute originally was enacted to target defendants who maintain, manage, or control so-called "crack houses" and more recently has been applied to defendants who facilitate drug use at commercial dance clubs, frequently called "raves".
Prior to this amendment, §2D1.8(a)(2) provided a maximum base offense level of level 16 for defendants convicted under 21 U.S.C. § 856 who had no participation in the underlying controlled substance offense other than allowing use of their premises. The Commission determined that the maximum base offense level of level 16 did not adequately reflect the culpability of offenders who permit distribution of drugs in quantities that under §2D1.1 result in offense levels higher than level 16. Such offenders knowingly and intentionally facilitate and profit, at least indirectly, from the trafficking of illegal drugs, even though they may not participate directly in the underlying controlled substance offense.
Second, the amendment modifies §2D1.1(a)(3) to provide a maximum base offense level of level 30 if the defendant receives an adjustment under §3B1.2 (Mitigating Role). The maximum base offense level somewhat limits the sentencing impact of drug quantity for offenders who perform relatively low level trafficking functions, have little authority in the drug trafficking organization, and have a lower degree of individual culpability (e.g., "mules" or "couriers" whose most serious trafficking function is transporting drugs and who qualify for a mitigating role adjustment).
This part of the amendment responds to concerns that base offense levels derived from the Drug Quantity Table in §2D1.1 overstate the culpability of certain drug offenders who meet the criteria for a mitigating role adjustment under §3B1.2. The Commission determined that, ordinarily, a maximum base offense level of level 30 adequately reflects the culpability of a defendant who qualifies for a mitigating role adjustment. Other aggravating adjustments in the trafficking guideline (e.g., the weapon enhancement at §2D1.1(b)(1)), or other general, aggravating adjustments in Chapter Three (Adjustments), may increase the offense level above level 30. The maximum base offense level is expected to apply narrowly, affecting approximately six percent of all drug trafficking offenders.
The amendment also adds an application note in §3B1.2 that instructs the court to apply the appropriate adjustment under that guideline in a case in which the maximum base offense level in §2D1.1(a)(3) operates to reduce the defendant’s base offense level under §2D1.1.
Third, the amendment modifies the Typical Weight Per Unit (Dose, Pill, or Capsule) Table in the commentary to §2D1.1 to reflect more accurately the type and weight of ecstasy pills typically trafficked and consumed. Specifically, the amendment adds a reference for MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) in the Typical Weight Per Unit Table and lists the typical weight as 250 milligrams per pill. The amendment also revises the typical weight for MDA to 250 milligrams of the mixture or substance containing the controlled substance. Prior to this amendment, the Table listed the typical weight of MDA as 100 milligrams of the actual controlled substance.
Information provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration indicates that ecstasy usually is trafficked and used as MDMA in pills weighing approximately 250 to 350 milligrams.
The absence of MDMA from the Typical Weight Per Unit (Dose, Pill, or Capsule) Table and the listing for MDA of an estimate of the actual weight of the controlled substance created the potential for misapplying the MDA estimate in a case in which MDMA is involved, which could result in underpunishment in some ecstasy cases. This part of the amendment thus promotes uniform application of §2D1.1 for offenses involving ecstasy by adding a reference for MDMA and revising the estimated weight for MDA.
Fourth, the amendment addresses two application concerns regarding the two level reduction under §2D1.1(b)(6) for defendants who meet the criteria set forth in §5C1.2 (Limitation on Applicability of Statutory Minimum Sentences in Certain Cases). The amendment provides an application note that clarifies that the two level reduction under §2D1.1(b)(6) does not depend on whether the defendant is convicted under a statute that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. The application note also clarifies that §5C1.2(b), which provides a minimum offense level of level 17 for certain offenders, is not applicable to §2D1.1(b)(6).
Effective Date: The effective date of this amendment is November 1, 2002.