From a medical marijuana sentence on thirty plants, to a probation before judgment
Practicing criminal defense is about bringing the client to harmony as much as possible at all stages of the case, including at trial and at any sentencing.
Maryland’s medical marijuana sentencing law (which I have discussed here) appears to be a strange compromise between those advocating no conviction for medical marijuana use and those concerned about constituents’ and/or federal statutes’ resisting the reality that marijuana is medicine.
In any event, we reached our final victory in our client’s medical marijuana case on March 23, 2007, as follows: On December 3, 2006, I blogged in depth about our success in obtaining a medical marijuana sentence of a $100 fine and court costs for simple marijuana possession for our client who was alleged to have been growing thirty marijuana plants. On March 23, we returned before the sentencing judge to argue in favor of converting his guilty verdict to a probation before judgment disposition, which involves staying the entry of the judgment of guilt with or without a probationary period. I argued in-depth our client’s positive qualities and achievements and the hardship our client faced by having a record of guilt in this matter. The judge granted our request, and converted our client’s case disposition from guilty to probation before judgment, without imposing any probation period.
This was a great and just result for our client, but it remains an injustice that medical marijuana remains criminalized in most of the nation, and that marijuana itself continues to be criminalized. Unfortunately, the benefits of Maryland’s medical marijuana law are reduced by the limited financial resources that many criminal defendants will have for presenting such a defense. Jon Katz.