Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

What a jury can tell us about marijuana laws

I’m writing this the day after I tried a case where my client was charged with distribution of marijuana and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. This case seemed way over-charged and the jury agreed: it came back after with a defense verdict after 3 minutes of deliberations.

The case was tried in a traditionally conservative county, and it made me wonder if juries and the public at-large have finally gotten that marijuana is not on the same level of danger as, say, heroin or cocaine. I’m not saying that I am into pot smoking but it just seems so harmless in comparison to a legal drug: alcohol.

Our society seems to promote alcohol and accept alcohol despite some very ugly stuff that regularly stems from drinking. As an attorney who handles DUIs and domestic assaults, I have noticed it is far more common for these crimes to be alcohol-related than to be marijuana-related.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized. Has the criminal justice system caught up with this decriminalization yet? Or is the system still relying on marijuana to fuel police busts, keep courthouse employees in action and keep busy jailhouse staff?

From my experience in court, it seems like at least the public has caught up.