Just because someone is arrested for marijuana, doesn’t mean that he or she has to incur the penalty and/or jail time that the law says goes along with their arrest and conviction. Usually we see this play out in the form of a jury nullification. A jury nullification occurs when the jury in a case refuses to convict someone because they feel the law the defendant is being accused of breaking is ridiculous. But every once in awhile we see a judge step up and do something somewhat similar.
That occurred recently in Canada, where a judge fined a man just $1.30 for growing 30 marijuana plants. Per Civilized.Life:
Mario Larouche, unable to secure a prescription for medical marijuana, resorted to growing 30 plants himself.
Larouche, a resident of the province of Quebec, was charged with possessing the plants, and lawyers for the province requested a sentence of $250 and 90 days in jail. Quebec Judge Pierre Chevalier, however, delivered a more lenient sentence of just a $1 fine plus 30 cent surcharge.
In explaining his sentence, the Judge welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize and regulate marijuana, remarking on the ubiquitousness of cannabis in Canadian society, as well as the archaic laws governing possession of the plant.
It would have been better if the judge just let the man go altogether, but I think he was trying to prove a point. Marijuana legalization is on the way in Canada, and I hope that more and more judges will recognize that fact. In my home state, Oregon, some counties suspended enforcement of marijuana prohibition after Measure 91 passed, but prior to the initiative taking effect. That was because those counties knew that enforcement was pointless. Hopefully that becomes the case throughout Canada too.