Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Felony Drug Charges May Be Dropped Against Mom Who Grew Marijuana For Son’s Use- Attorney Sam’s Take

We haven’t talked about drug cases for awhile. As you know, possession of a small amount of marijuana has been decriminalized. However, that does not mean that having it is now problem free.

Confused?

Well, it depends on the circumstances in which you possessed it. For example, if there is even the hint that you might be sharing or otherwise distributing pot you are going to be charged with possession with intent to distribute.

And then there was the case of Ms. Sue Thayer, 65 (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) She was charged with felony drug charges when it was discovered that she was growing marijuana. Apparently, she was growing it for her son.

In 2007, the Defendant was charged with possessing more than 25 pot plants. She said she grew the plants out of necessity because the marijuana improved the appetite and general condition of her son, who suffered from chronic wasting.

She tried a defense of “necessity”. It did not fly.

Fortunately for the Defendant, however, prosecutors, and the court of course, had a heart. They have now agreed to refer her to court diversion. If she completes it, the charges against her will be dismissed.

I have handled drug cases of all sorts in my 25+ years as attorney in the criminal justice trenches. The realization that drug crimes are often a result of illness and addiction is an area in which many courts have begun to react to reality and try to actually do some good. Unfortunately, it seems that the more this happens, the more politicians change laws to prohibit anything but long term prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes.

Which way is the pendulum really swinging? I’m not sure…what day is it today?

Usually, at least in Massachusetts, diversion programs like the one here is reserved for kids who have “strayed off the path” and are considered redeemable. Additionally, many states have eased the handling of “medical marihuana” cases. However, those are usually cases in which the pot is actually prescribed by a physician.

This is an interesting case in that the marihuana plants are not being grown by the user. They are being grown by the Defendant to then give to her son. That “giving” is technically a sale and could be prosecuted as such.

One would hope that the government has become involved in some other kind of treatment for the son, assuming that this avenue of treatment has now been closed.

Generally, though, it is a mistake to rely upon goodwill of the prosecution when facing drug charges. Get an experienced criminal defense attorney. Such an attorneysshould have the experience to get whatever kind of goodwill is out there…and, maybe, create some that isn’t there at first.

If you want to contact me to discuss such a case, please feel to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

To view the original story, and charming photograph about which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://mobile.boston.com/art/30/news/local/vermont/articles/2011/01/18/mother_avoids_trial_on_marijuana_charges/

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