Washington State Medical Marijuana User Found Guilty Of Drug Possession And Manufacture Charges

A Pierce County resident who used marijuana to alleviate pain and seizures stemming from head injuries he suffered in a 1988 motorcycle accident was found guilty of charges that he possessed and manufactured marijuana. His sentencing is set for April 10.

Jess Williams, aka Fat Freddy, claims that he grew marijuana to combat the symptoms of his injury after discovering that cannabis worked more effectively than any conventional prescription drugs. Law enforcement agents who raided Williams home maintained that Williams possessed more plants than necessary for personal use. Williams attorney, NORML Legal Committee member Jeffrey Steinborn, asserts that he will appeal the decision. “This case is a long way from over,” he says.

William’s case had risen to the forefront of the battle for medical access to marijuana in Washington State. While Steinborn admits that an acquittal would not have invalidated the law, he maintains that a “not guilty” verdict might have made prosecutors wary of bringing similar cases to trial. Previously, medical marijuana user Ralph Seeley won a declaratory judgment from Pierce County Superior Court Judge Rosanne Buckner affirming that a cancer patient’s need to use marijuana as a medicine overrides the state’s interest in outlawing its prescription.

Some activists who attended William’s trial noted that they felt the jury might have ruled differently had the defendant suffered from cancer or glaucoma. Williams was the “Freedom Fighter” of the month for the May issue of High Times magazine.

For more information on William’s case, please contact Attorney Jeffrey Steinborn of Seattle at (206) 622-5117.