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Jurors Can (and Should) Refuse To Convict In Marijuana Cases


middle fingerby Scott Morgan

Paul Butler has an important piece in the New York Times reminding all of us that we don’t have to enforce unjust laws when we serve on a jury.

IF you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” – even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer. [NYT]

Jury nullification is a critical safeguard against abuses of prosecutorial power in our criminal justice system, and Paul Butler would know. He used to be a prosecutor himself.

Taking your conscience with you into the jury booth is an act of patriotism, and it’s something every citizen should know they have to right to do. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Americans don’t want a war on marijuana anymore, and refusing to convict our friends and neighbors is one very strong way to make that sure that message is heard.

Article From StoptheDrugWar.orgCreative Commons Licensing

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  1. It’s a federal law. The DEA is a federal agency. So even if a state tells you that something is legal in their state, it only means that the state police will not arrest you. The state will not imprison you. However, that does not protect you from the federal government. So, the state law does nothing to stop the DEA from arresting you and imprisoning you.

    So why did all those dispensaries open up in California if it were still a federal law? Because our current sitting President promised during his election campaign that he wouldn’t go after people in states where marijuana is legal. However, a couple years into his term, he started breaking that promise after giving many people a false sense of security.

  2. if it was a federal charge, then it can be done, because under federal law, even if pot is legal in the state, the feds can still prosecute you for it. which is insane. the states should have control over drug convictions

  3. You’re talking about marijuana legalization not freeing the slaves. Prohibition is obviously dumb, but violence is 100% not the answer and never will be.

  4. I’m confused to because regardless of medical or not under an ounce in Cali is a misdemeanor which is a ticket, not jail time. Was something else involved at the time of arrest?

  5. I have a question. I don’t understand why people are arrested in CA if medical Marijuana is legal. I know someone who was just released from jail after serving 53 days in jail for possession under an oz. he had a medical card. How is that possible? Mad!

  6. In order to avert what will surely be a far more violent situation than we are already experiencing, and to restore our Republic to a system “OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE,” there appears to be just one last avenue left to us — Jury Nullification. If we choose not to use this peaceful means for change then a violent solution may inevitably be forced upon us:

    “To function as the founders intended, our republic requires that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy

    Jury Nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty, but who don’t deserve punishment. All non-violent drug offenders who are not selling to children, be they users, dealers or importers, fall into this category. If you believe that prohibition is a dangerous and counter-productive policy, then you don’t have to help to apply it. Under the Constitution, when it comes to acquittals, you the juror have the last word!

    To avoid such carnage and turmoil on a scale not seen in this land since the 1860s, we may have just one last chance: If you wish to see this insane prohibition replaced by a workable policy based on science, public health and sound principles of Justice & Human Rights, one that will ensure a safe future for your children and grandchildren, PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT! – We must now create what we can no longer afford to wait for.


  8. Andrew Zebrun III on

    Webmd.com just released a study saying marijuana did not cause ling cancer. I’d love to be on a jury and deny a drug conviction for the government! But they’d never pick me since they have so severely stepped on my civil rights!

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