Colorado Juror: Medical Marijuana Case A Waste Of Resources

If you’re confused over the term ‘jury nullification’, a prime example of such emerged from a courtroom in Boulder, Colorado last week. Many legal and sociology experts recognize a significant change in society by whether or not juries, made up of one’s local peers, will continue to enforce what many in a society have come to believe are bad and/or antiquated laws.

Throughout America’s relatively short history, when elected policymakers and bureaucrats are not responsive to the will of the citizens or pass laws not supported by society, citizens sitting on a jury have an absolute right to vote their conscience, which also means in effect nullifying the law by not voting for conviction.
The effect of this becomes abundantly clear when jurors consistently refuse to convict so-called ‘criminal offenders’, and numerous examples abound from prior civil rights movements in America: Abolitionists, Women’s Sufferage, Minority Rights and Access To The Vote and Gay/Lesbian.
In time, and NORML is observing this right now around the country in ever-increasing amounts, prosecutors are having an increasingly harder time winning criminal convictions for ‘crimes’ a majority of the citizens do not in fact believe is a crime.
Want to know more about the awesome power each of us possess as jurors to stop ‘bad’ laws from their continued enforcement? Check out FIJA!
I want to personally thank ‘D. Walters, Erie, CO’ for both voting their conscience while sitting in judgment of a fellow cannabis consumer, and for letting their fellow citizens in the Boulder area know via a letter-to-the-editor what a waste of time and valuable social resources cannabis prohibition enforcement is for the criminal justice system.

Medical marijuana case a waste of resources
Posted by Camera staff in Tuesday, August 11th 2009
I was a member of the jury on the medical marijuana case and beg to differ with Mr. Garnett’s assessment as presented in this Open Forum on Tuesday.
This case was both a waste of taxpayer money and a travesty of justice that the charges against this man were ever brought in the first place. First of all, Mr. Garnett’s assertion that the jury found “that the amount of marijuana in Mr. Lauve’s home was medically necessary” is an inaccurate statement. The job of the prosecution was to prove that the amount in possession was NOT medically necessary and that Mr. Lauve was aware that he was in violation of the law. The prosecution presented absolutely NO EVIDENCE regarding either point of law. They brought no witnesses to show that the amount was not medically necessary. They did not even assert that the amount was not medically necessary. In fact, they prevented the defense from offering evidence regarding medical necessity. The prosecution did not even attempt to assert that Mr. Lauve knew the amount was excessive or suggest that he was doing anything inappropriate with the ‘excess’.
This jury admired Jason Lauve for standing up to an unfair prosecution. The physical, emotional and legal costs to Jason Lauve of defending himself do not seem to be of concern of Mr. Garnett.
And the cost to taxpayers? 4 full days spent by a judge, two prosecutors, a bailiff, a clerk, a detective, assorted police officers and 12 jurors! Plus laboratory time and expense to prove that it was ‘real’ marijuana. All of us could have spent these 4 days doing something that actually involved prosecuting a crime.
D. Walters
Erie

0 thoughts

  1. For this to be encouraging, I would have like to have seen this a case where the cannabis consumer was not a “medical” consumer. So what if the public agrees, or even actually believes that medical marijuana is about medecine. As long as people without some medical marijuana license to get high are prosecuted and fall under the eye of law enforcement, there is no progress on the issue. None.

  2. I hope this trend will continue, in fact, I hope we turn it around and start putting consequences on the people who carry out these ridiculous arrests.

  3. Ironman, i hope you would never convict anyone for possession of any type of plant. It’s just plain ignorant to do so.

  4. Spread the word to boycott Obama.
    almost everyone I know hates Obama- and not only my cannabis consuming friends.

  5. In regard to the conscious/conscience post above:
    I think the editor’s reply misses the point. Typographical errors are one thing. These are totally different words. And they weren’t confused by a copy editor, they were confused by the executive director of NORML. It just seems to me that the executive director of an organization that deals with a cause so close to my heart should be the type of person that knows the difference between those two words. No offense to Mr. St. Pierre, or anyone at NORML, but it shouldn’t matter if the media doesn’t complain about these things. It is in their best interest to let it happen. If you want to enact real change on a controversial issue, you have to be vigilant.
    We can do better. We can do more.

  6. I’m proud of all you jurors who voted your conscience! WTG! If more people like you would stand up to these prosecutors then maybe they (and the cops) would finally see the light and stop harassing people (someday).

  7. In response to the editor’s note about my suggestion that you get a copyeditor, it’s entirely true that news organizations like the NYT have whole crews of copyeditors and that they still miss the occasional error. However, this blog (which I admire very much and read every day) only puts out one post usually consisting of a few paragraphs each day or two while News Services put out many pages daily. All it would take is to get a few volunteer English or Journalism students to look over the posts before you publish them to make sure that there aren’t any glaring errors. While it’s certainly true that “content is king,” it’s also true that the “medium is the message” and things like spelling and proper word usage do significantly effect peoples’ perception of written material. The bottom line is that getting someone with an eye for detail to look over the posts would not be that difficult and it can only make the site better and the movement stronger. Extraordinary resistance from conservative sectors of society calls for an extraordinary effort on the part of those of us who recognize the need for reform and I don’t think that we can or should settle for the status quo when it comes to how we express our ideas when we are attempting to radically shift cultural assumptions.
    Having said that, I want to emphasize that I love the blog and I think that NORML is doing a great service in leading the way towards a more just and enlightened attitude towards cannabis. Thanks for working so hard for our freedom!

  8. Nobody should ever be arrested for smoking it in proper set and setting. Its what one does after that which can be a problem.

  9. #23: I hate to say it, but your sister is a coward and a hypocrite. How can she take that rare opportunity of sitting on a jury of a marijuana trial and vote guilty when she should have voted with her conscience and voted “not guilty?” And for the paranoid illogical fear that someone might suspect she smoked pot?!?!? So wtf if someone DID suspect she had smoked pot. Nobody gets their ass hauled in to court for “having smoked pot” some time in their life time.
    And with approval for marijuana legalization hovering around 50% nationwide, anyone who gets charged with a marijuana related should insist on a juried trial. The chances of overturning a law with jury nullification seem to be excellent.
    Can someone from NORML expand on this?

  10. Ron it would depend on what plant, and what was done with it. Heroine, and cocain are derivitives of plants, selling to a child would lead me to convict. Hemlock is a deadly poison, using it to kill someone would lead me to convict. Of course they wouldn’t be arrested for possession of hemlock, it would be murder, or attempted murder.

  11. We defintly need to stay loud and proud. Lol i still got mind-numb from all the posts i read from that Benton prick the other day. There were hundreds. I wonder, did that have the most comments ever for a NORML piece?

  12. I FEEL THAT SOON MEDICAL CANNABIS WILL START BEING RESPECTED AGAIN AND BEFORE THIS MOMENT I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION THIS:
    THERE ARE 2 KINDS OF MEDICAL CANNABIS USERS.
    FIRST WE HAVE THE PEOPLE WHO USE IT FOR HEALING THE SYMPTOMS OF SERIOUS SICKNESSES AND FOR FACING THE PAIN.
    THESE PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO USE IT FOR LIFE.
    AND THE SECOND KIND ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HEAL THEMSELVES WITH CANNABIS.
    AND I ASK THE QUESTION .. WHICH IS THE GOAL, THE ULTIMATE TARGET, THE DREAM OF SUCH A PATIENT OF THE SECOND KIND ??
    TO HAVE FREE, GOOD QUALITY GRASS TO SMOKE????
    NO..
    THE GOAL IS TO ARRIVE TO THE SITUATION WHEN HE DOESN’T NEED TO SMOKE BECAUSE HE IS HEALED.. TO OVERCOME IT… TO SURPASS IT.. TO GAIN HIS BALANCE… NOT TO NEED IT ANYMORE.
    CANNABIS IS A MEDICINE.
    I’LL GIVE A CHILDISH EXAMPLE.
    IF YOU HAVE A FLOOR THAT YOU WANT TO USE FOR A LIGHT REFLECTION AND THE FLOOR IS FULL OF HOLES YOU CANNOT USE IT..
    IF YOU POUR A BUCKET OF WATER ON THE FLOOR THE WATER WILL BE SO VERY WELCOME, SO MUCH NEEDED… IT WILL COVER THE IRREGULARITIES AND THE FLOOR WILL BE USEFUL FOR THE REFLECTION, EVEN FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
    NOW… IF THE FLOOR HAS NO HOLES IT REFLECTS ALRIGHT AND IT NEEDS NOTHING..
    IF YOU POUR HERE THIS SAME BUCKET OF WATER THAT WAS SO HELPFUL AND WELCOME BEFORE, REFLECTION AND GOOD USE WILL BE DISTURBED, YOU CREATE AN INUNDATION AND DAMAGE.
    A HEALTHY BALANCED PERSON WILL NOT USE MEDICINE FOR NO REASON. IT MAKES HIM OR HER SICK, DIZZY..
    CANNABIS IS A POWER.. IF YOU ARE UNBALANCED IT FILLS THE EMPTY FOR A WHILE AND GIVES YOU A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IS TO BE NORMAL.. AND THEN YOU TRY HARD TO ACHIEVE YOUR OWN BALANCE.. (THAT’S THE GOOD USE)
    I HAD MANY SERIOUS ACCIDENTS FROM CHILDHOOD THAT I HEALED (AND STILL HEALING) ALONE WITH HARD WORK, ENERGY ECONOMY (WITHOUT THIS IT’S A WASTE OF TIME) AND THE PRECIOUS HELP OF THE MEDICAL CANNABIS WHEN I COULD FIND IT..
    BUT I FEEL THAT THINGS GO SO MUCH BETTER ANYMORE WITH MY GENERAL HEALTH AND MY MOST INCREDIBLE EVENT WILL BE NOT TO NEED TO USE IT ANYMORE WHEN IT WILL BE LEGAL !!!!!!!!!!!
    PLEASE CHECK MY FACE BOOK PAGE UNDER MY NAME NASOS LAHANAS AND DON’T MISS THE PHOTO ALBUMS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

  13. has anyone else noticed how you can add up all the numbers of people using illicit drugs, other than marijuana, and that number wouldnt even be 1/4 of the number of marijuana users? statistics alone completely kill the “gateway drug” theory. just a good point for everyone to bring up in any marijuana debate.. plus i know im not alone in saying that 25 million current marijuana users is an EXTREME UNDERESTIMATE

  14. The laws are unjust. I would never vote to convict on a possession charge whether medical or not whether its one roach or 500 pounds. I will not enable the government to perpetrate its behavior. All across America we need citizens to refuse to prosecute marijuana possession when they are on juries. Keep your mouth shut until you vote to acquit so they can’t throw you off the jury.

  15. Hey all!!!
    I did a GrandJury tour awhile back and only one of the cases was marijuana ever mentioned…was all about drugs other than mj…
    Puff…Puff…

  16. This is a breath of fresh air! Thank You ,Thank You, and Thank You again. There are some true patriots out there. You people rock. The reasons for prohibition are obvious, greed, racism, greed, control, self righteousness, and greed. Cannabis is not and never was dangerous, has been used for medical reasons for thousands of years, has been used for food and fiber for at least as long if not longer. Prosecuting citizens for victimless so called crimes are an insult to the intelligence of people worldwide. Wake up America, The powers that be have known all of this from the beginning. They simply do not care, as long as they, (politicians, corporations, law enforcement, treatment clinics, etc.), are making their huge paydays they will fight tooth and nail to retain these ridiculus laws and lock up citizens. Its all about $$$. Sorry I got carried away, sorry for spouting off crap we all already know. Before I needed cannabis for medicine I was a recreational user, now it’s a medical thing, and I live in a backward state, can’t afford to move. Feeling very frustrated and oppressed. Thank you folks for having the integrity to stand up and say bull sh*t. Schedule 1 drug, are they kidding, obviously not. If asked a very large percentage of the population would admit, they do not trust the government, never have and never will. Change we can believe in is a joke, just another line of crap to get elected. I venture to guess about 90% of our lawmakers, judiciary, law enforcement, should be arrested and tried for treason, murder, bribery, false witness, slander, and about any other offense that can be investigated, but won’t, against the public. Ask a Native American if gov. can be trusted. Ever hear of genocide? A change we can believe in would be when the U.S. gov. admits this war on people was based on lies from the start and rectifies the current laws. Probably not in my lifetime, never happen. Come on Pres. O. show your children,their dad is not a hypocritical, trifling, government thug, intent on raping and pillaging the citizens. I would feel more comfortable if you didn’t even admit to previous cannabis and cocaine use, then I could attribute your actions or lack of as just ignorrance. Keep laughing at us and see if you get re-elected. Or is the fix already in? Prove me wrong, and make this wrong a right, Please! Be honest with yourself and the public if it’s in you. Great job jurors, we need more like you folks nation wide. Sorry for the rants here, my friends, just fed up with the feds. I live in Louisiana, long joked about as a corrupt and malicious state. Well look around, it is not just coon-asses and rednecks anymore, it’s nationwide. Please forgive my typos and, misuse of the english language, I’m just a poor dumb southerner, stuck in a web of lies and criminals, alot of which carry badges or wear judiciary robes or nice suits. Do I sound cynical? Wonder why? No I’m not really, simply just angry. Why should I expect anything different from Gov., Federal, State, Local. Things must change, we are in a downward spiral and, gaining speed. At the rate we are going, the Eagle(U.S.) is headed for certain destruction from within. Makes me very sad and sick to my stomach. Think of your children and grandchildren, our freedoms are an illusion now, we must at least try to preserve some tiny shread of dignity for them. something other than a failing nation and montainous debt. Free Leonard, stop the injustices and fight back like these brave jurors. I’m very proud to call these people my fellow citizens. Thank you for having the fortitude to show these thugs what a true U.S. patriot looks like. when lawmakers trample our constitution for any reason, it is treason and should be treated as such. No , I do not wish to separate any state from the union, I want the people to take back our country from the so called elite. The actions of these jurors is a much needed step in that direction. Thank you, and god bless you. Some of the (non-violent) activists of the 60’s and 70’s were not as brain dead as they were made out to be, hindsight is scary sometimes. Lets look forward and right some wrongs and get our country back on track. I guess this probably put me on all kinds of gov. list. Because I don’t agree with current policies, does not make me a domestic terrorist or nutcase, or criminal, it makes me very affraid of my gov. not for my sake but for the sake of our children and their children and so on. If I remeber correctly the president and drug czar made a comment about quelling the demand for cannabis in this country. Hey that’s us, whether you use cannabi s for medicine or recreation, it’s the same to them. Watch your back and pray, we are in deep deep doo doo people. later…………

  17. Well ive been saying this in the comment section already for a few months, you should probably also tell them that a crime needs mens rea (that means mal-intent) to be a crime. any posession of any substance cannot constitute a crime as there is no intent to harm anybody. Anyways for the most part many of the mechanics which are supposed to govern trial by jury have been altered or removed! another loophole will be found to circumvent the people perhaps stricter slection to exclude cannabis users. Never listen to the judge or cops only listen to law, read magna carta and the constitution and learn about trial by jury
    Democracydefined.org has the BEST explanation of what our judicial system is supposed to be like and you will see that what we have in place falls faaaaaaaaar short of democracy and it can/will eventually lead to tyranny even if it takes generations it is a time-bomb as attitude’s darken and reason begins to leave the people…..

  18. Although the state’s resources were wasted, I would bet that the prosecutor was receiving funds from the DEA.
    That was certainly the case in San Diego county, which recently tried to overthrow California’s propl 215. The DEA promised them loads of outside money on the condition that they work on the DEA’s behalf.

  19. As a true American patriot, I can not convict a fellow citizen of anything when there is no victim. For example, the government has no legitimate authority to be in, and therefore should immediately get out of, the marrying business. If some guy wants to marry a couple of other guys, do drugs and watch stupid movies, it is none of my business, or government at any level, as long as they do not violate the God-given freedoms and liberties of even one other citizen. I do not want to live in the freest country in the world. I want to live in a free country. This is God’s will as acknowledged and cited in the Constitution of the United States. I do not have to condone choices made by others to support their right to make those choices. I’ve got an idea, how about we all just mind our own damn business and make sure government at all levels does the same?!

  20. Well not only has this juror opted to work in the power of nullification, but he was kind enough to post about it.
    Various nullification happens all the time but seldom do the people who are involved speak out about it in public.
    The only problem is that jury selection is allowed to be skewed in its “selection” process. This prevents most “unfavorable” verdicts. While you may think you can avoid being, pardon the pun, weeded out, most prosecutors are really good at spotting sympathizers.
    I too thank D for his efforts and response on this important case.

  21. Awesome. Its a waste of taxpayer money to convict otherwise law abiding citizens for a victimless crime which shouldn’t be a crime at all. The past few presidents have admitted using marijuana, why aren’t they in jail if they support marijuana laws?

  22. This war has been waged on American society for over 70 years now. Finally we are winning the smaller battles, we have the “high” ground and the prohibs are running scared. Legalization will start in CA in 2010 and the rest of the prohibitionists will fall like dominoes in the rest of the states in the union. Can you smell it? It’s the sweet, sticky, pungent aroma of victory. We have to act now, visit this site http://www.californiacannabisinitiative.org/ and keep contacting your “elected” officials. They don’t want the way things work to change, obviously, but we will force our will upon them one victory at a time.

  23. #70 Chris
    Man I feel how you feel I also live in Louisiana and its bad here. Ive wrote D.Vitter one of our state senators and the response I got was we got to look out for the children. When our state has the highest incarceration rate for drugs than any other and alot of it is younger people late teens and early twenties. I believe it was something like for every $1 we spend on education here it was like $0.60 of that is spent on housing offenders.Its pretty crazy!!! I have tried to contact our NORML chapter here in Louisiana several times but never get a response I guess they dont even bother with it anymore here!!!

  24. #61 Fireweed Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 7:08 am

    “#23: I hate to say it,
    but your sister is a coward and a hypocrite.
    How can she take that rare opportunity of sitting on a jury of a
    marijuana trial and vote guilty when she should have voted with
    her conscience and voted “not guilty?”
    And for the paranoid illogical fear that
    someone might suspect she smoked pot?!?!?
    So wtf if someone DID suspect she had smoked pot….”

    RE: Fireweed,
    – I completely agree with you about this.
    (I wish I had the opportunity to cast a verdict in a pot-trial…)
    .
    She was an ‘effing COWARD, her fears UNFOUNDED!!!
    (One’s vote, (towards or against a specific verdict), is ANONYMOUS!!!).
    – I wish our house-representatives had THIS FREEDOM!!!
    (When voting for or against a bill…
    Their names are displayed in bright, flickering LED’s, along
    with how they voted…)
    – Not the case with jurors, their individual-decision is SECRET!!!
    (And not anyone else’s damned business…!!!)

    Pot-APOLOGETICS,
    not
    pot-apologies…!!!
    😈
    BTW:
    – Even If her “vote” were discovered, made known to others,
    she could still say something to the effect of…

    “Even though I don’t smoke pot,
    even though I’m against irresponsible
    ‘drug-usage’, conviction of the defendant,
    a guilty-verdict is wrong, because….. “

  25. thank you to that individual who stood up in court for what was right.and, shame on that individual who was in fear for herself in the face of what was right.ill admit, i was also in fear for years about cretain people knowing that i consume the peace of the ganga but, you know when i was told by my employer of thirty years that, through drug testing , i would be eliminated from the workforse if i showed positive.it took awhile of being silent (about six months ) and then, i began to relize i was all wrong.i conducted myself in a reasonable manner at all times while under marijuanas influence. and, i was good to people then as i am now. i have no reason to be embarresed or in fear of something that is right in my eyes. since i have been on this site ,(nearly evry day ).i have read and seen many people who are standing up every day for what is right.if it were a site full of meth. and heroin users, i would be gone. marijuana is a lifestyle and im proud to be a part of it. i have talked to many of my fellow consumers about standing up for the herbal remedy and so many are,scared to stand up.because they may be “fingered” or targeted. damn that shit. we all enjoy the herb and the freedom to use something the we had found, used responsibily, is a benefit to our lives and, completely contrary to our government because their are so many monkeys on their back(big pharm and the like ) i guess ,what im saying is, along with myself, if more of us stood up and wrote or called or just admitted to those what we know to be true about responsible use of cannabis, we would be so much farther ahead.SPEAK OUT PEOPLE,I KNOW IM LEARNING TO. thank you norml for the venue to start from.

  26. #61 Fireweed Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 7:08 am

    “#23: I hate to say it,
    but your sister is a coward and a hypocrite.
    How can she take that rare opportunity of sitting on a jury of a
    marijuana trial and vote guilty when she should have voted with
    her conscience and voted “not guilty?”
    And for the paranoid illogical fear that
    someone might suspect she smoked pot?!?!?
    So wtf if someone DID suspect she had smoked pot….”

    RE: Fireweed,
    – I completely agree with you about this.
    (I wish I had the opportunity to cast a verdict in a pot-trial…)
    .
    She was an ‘effing COWARD, her fears UNFOUNDED!!!
    (One’s vote, (towards or against a specific verdict), is ANONYMOUS!!!).
    – I wish our HOUSE-REPs had THIS FREEDOM!!!
    (When voting for or against a bill…
    Their names are displayed in bright, flickering LED’s, along
    with how they voted…)
    – Not the case with jurors, their individual-decision is SECRET!!!
    (And not anyone else’s damned business…!!!)

    Pot-APOLOGETICS,
    not
    pot-apologies…!!!
    😈
    BTW:
    – Even If her “vote” were discovered, made known to others,
    she could still say something to the effect of…

    “Even though I don’t smoke pot,
    even though I’m against irresponsible
    ‘drug-usage’, conviction of the defendant,
    a guilty-verdict is wrong, because….. “

  27. Jury nullification is the thing that prosecutors fear most in cannabis cases. That’s why they throw in everything they can to get the victim/perpetrator to plead the case out, giving them another victory.
    Modern day jurisprudence is NOT about justice or solving problems, it is only about WINNING and a plea is as good as a conviction.

  28. #82; You think exactly as I do. I have consumed for 41yrs. I have never hidden it from anyone, except(of course)the cops. For many years now I don’t even try to hide it from them. I wear a cannabis pin on the front of my USMC utility cover which I wear all the time. I talk it up any time the oppertunity arises. This is the only way we can educate the puplic. When someone who has bought into the Gov. lies talks to someone they can see is a responsible individual a seed of doubt will begin to grow in their minds as to the validity of their beliefes. Be sure to educate yourself, before you try to educate others. The worst thing we can do is to speak without knowledge. Those who do this just make us all look stupid.

  29. You’re all confused… A Jury’s job is not to determine the guilt or innocence of the Accused… The Jury’s job is to protect the Accused from Government Tyranny by judging the LAW…any LAW, and determine if the Government is trying to take away a person’s Life, Liberty or Pursuit of Happiness, UNJUSTLY…. JURY NULLIFICATION is the only alternative to Armed Rebellion in our country…. REsearch it…Learn it….Apply it every chance you get….

  30. After reading the story again, I believe the prosecution didn’t even want to convict Mr. Lauve. The prosecution apparently didn’t have a case, or they would surely have presented it. A friend of mine here in Texas was arrested for possession of a small amount of cannabis. At his arraingment he told the judge he used the cannabis to control his PTSD,(Iraq war). The judge told him if he could show him some proof of this, the charges would be dropped. Did he? Have the charges been dropped? Don’t know, I’ll ask the next time I see him, and post here.

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