The Manhattan District Attorney has agreed to take no further action in its prosecution of Johann Moore for distributing marijuana for medical purposes and to dismiss all charges against him in six months.
Judge William Mogulescu explained in open court that this decision by the District Attorney’s office constituted an extreme deviation from their internal policies which require that all defendants must plead to the indictment in all cases of marijuana sales. Judge Mogulescu further added that he believed the District AttorneyÌs action to be tantamount to an acknowledgment by that office of the legitimacy of medicinal marijuana and of the validity of Moore’s claim that his distribution of marijuana as medicine constituted a justification for his actions.
Immediately after the court proceeding where Moore consented to the six month deferred prosecution, he informed reporters that he intends to continue to provide marijuana to those with a legitimate medical need.
Moore’s attorney and President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Robert Fogelnest said, “I applaud the District AttorneyÌs office for their ultimately making an intelligent and humane judgment in the disposition of this case.”
“I hope that this will pave the way for a more enlightened policy regarding the distribution of marijuana for medical use,” added Moore’s other attorney, Ruth Liebesman. Both Liebesman and Fogelnest are members of the NORML Legal Committee.
Moore is a longtime New York City drug reform activist and is the founder of the city’s underground cannabis buyer’s club — one of an estimated 30 clubs that currently operate and distribute medical marijuana to seriously ill patients who possess a doctor’s recommendation. He was arrested last August for distributing marijuana and was charged with criminal sales in the fourth degree.
“The statement made by the District Attorney in this case is a strong one,” said NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. “It appears that they — like the D.A.’s offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz have done previously — wish to make the prosecution of buyer’s clubs and those involved in the distribution of marijuana for medicinal use the state’s lowest priority.”
For more information on the Johann Moore case, please contact either Attorney Robert Fogelnest or Ruth Liebesman at (212) 683-8000. For more information on cannabis buyer’s clubs, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.