Published on December 12th, 2014 | by News Feed
Judge Drops Charges Against Man Caught Growing 414 Pot Plants
Typically, when a guy is busted with hundreds of marijuana plants, he is going to be in deep trouble. But this week, we got news of a kind judge that completely dismissed charges against a pot grower in Canada. According to reports, Michael Santos is an audio engineer with no previous criminal record. But police raided his home and found 414 marijuana plants and charged him with possession of three kilograms of marijuana and trafficking.
The raid happened in February 2013, but the court just handed out a final ruling on the case this week. Provincial Court Judge Joanna Challenger studied the case and found that Santos was growing the pot to use as medical marijuana for himself and then giving away the extra to others who had a need for medical cannabis. Santos asked the judge not to disclose his medical condition and so she sealed that information and simply stated that his medical history revealed that he was likely to develop a life-threatening genetic disease.
After carefully examining the situation, Judge Challenger decided to dismiss the case from court. “Given what Mr. Santos knows about the disease he is predisposed to and the effect it has had on his family, I accept that his medical use was and is sincere,” she said in a written judgment. “Even if the only benefit the use of marijuana actually provides is hope, the emotional and, in turn, physical benefits could well be medically significant.”
Santos did not have a medical exemption to grow marijuana before he was busted. He said that he never sought an official exemption because he was hoping to avoid the consequences of admitting his pot use to the government and the process of applying for an official exemption was “cumbersome”. However, he did go on to obtain the medical exemption in August 2013 and that remains valid at this time according to the judge.
While prosecutors sought a one year conditional sentence to be served in the community, the judge elected to discharge the case based on the fact that Santos is an otherwise law-abiding citizen and a “good family man”. She pointed out that he posed no real risk to the public. “His conduct was not dangerous or antisocial and recent polls suggest that a majority of Canadians do not believe such conduct should be the subject of criminal sanctions,” she explained.
The judge went on to suggest that Canadian lawmakers would be wise to amend and repeal the current marijuana lines to bring them up to par with the modern values and views of the Canadian people. “When it becomes common for persons of good character to willingly and knowingly conduct themselves in violation of a law, which is widely seen to be unwarranted or unjust or unfair, this should cause those who enact our laws and who are tasked with enforcing or upholding the law to give serious consideration to the repeal or amendment of that law to bring it into accord with modern social values,” Judge Challenger said.
Santos clearly was extremely lucky to get such an understanding judge. This is just further evidence that the attitude towards medical marijuana is rapidly shifting. Hopefully the same line of thought will continue and move towards the United States in the near future.