Indiana Judge Denies Religious Defense for Medical Marijuana Caregiver

Indiana Rastafari marijuana arrest
Jerome Scott and Melanie Schmidt, who describe themselves as followers of the Rastafari faith. Photo courtesy South Bend Tribune.

A northern Indiana judge rejected an argument by a man who asked that his marijuana possession charge be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor because he follows the Rastafarian faith.

Jerome Scott said that he was being charitable to others by cultivating marijuana to ease ailments from chronic back pain to cancer, the South Bend Tribune reports. St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jane Woodward Miller said he still broke the law.

“I understand there are many people who agree with you that marijuana should be legal, but you’re in the wrong state for that,” she said. “What you knowingly and deliberately did in Indiana is break the law by not only cultivating it, but also distributing it.”

Followers of the Rastafari faith, developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, believe cannabis is a holy herb, and smoking marijuana is considered a sacrament that brings peace, wisdom and a spiritual connection to nature. Scott and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Melanie Schmidt, see the state’s marijuana laws as unjust.

Scott said was not a drug dealer, but that he distributed the cannabis strictly for medical and religious purposes.

“Cultivating my own cannabis is my way of not contributing to the black market and drug dealing tactics,” he said.

In March, Scott pleaded guilty to a felony count of possession of marijuana. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a felony charge of maintaining a common nuisance. Schmidt pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana charge.

Woodward Miller ordered Scott to serve 18 months on probation and sentenced Schmidt to 12 months on probation.

Scott, who now has a license in Michigan to grow marijuana for other approved patients as a caregiver, said his felony conviction will ruin his chances of having his license renewed. If he loses the license, Scott said, he will also lose the right to practice the cultivation of cannabis, which he views as a calling and key aspect of his faith.

“All of his hard work, all of his studying, his whole life, they’re telling him he can’t do that,” Schmidt said.

One thought on “Indiana Judge Denies Religious Defense for Medical Marijuana Caregiver

  • July 17, 2015 at 10:28 am
    Permalink

    This is not a #Drug #War. It is #Civil #War II.

    Sociopaths and Psychopaths warring upon the advanced genetics of intelligence, science and genetic facts. Credo Quia Absurdum.

    Cannabis contains all 20 Amino Acids in Human DNA. Hemp Edestin is a patented substitute for Human Plasma in Europe.

    Eli Lilly & Co has patented Cannabis for medicine and runs Cannabis research at IU. DuPont runs Hemp research at Purdue. The room number is Lilly G-122 (Genesis 1:22 – “Go now and flourish”)

    Indiana Masons are clearly out of control: “I understand there are many people who agree with you that marijuana should be legal, but you’re in the wrong state for that,” she said.

    Reply

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