Connect with us

Culture

Jury Acquits Marijuana Patient Who Admitted To Breaking Georgia Law

Published

on

The jury had a decision to make: find the defendant guilty of growing marijuana and possessing “drug-related objects,” which would result in a felony conviction, or deem him innocent.

It’s not an especially unique choice in a Georgia court—except that the defendant, Javonnie McCoy, admitted that he was guilty. McCoy, who said he grew cannabis for personal use to treat chronic headaches he developed after being severely beaten in 2003, was transparent in the courtroom. And it paid off.

The jury heard the case over three days of trial, spent two hours deliberating last week and ultimately found McCoy not guilty on all counts, his attorney Catherine Bernard wrote in a Facebook post. McCoy was acquitted through a process known as jury nullification.

“The jury appreciated his honesty throughout the case—including testimony at trial and statements to police—and recognized that a good, hard working man living a quiet life and not bothering anyone didn’t deserve a felony conviction for his actions,” Bernard said.

Jury nullification isn’t unheard of, but McCoy’s case seemed to symbolically challenge prohibitionist policies that put patients and non-violent users in prison, with a criminal record that could follow them for the rest of their lives. While Georgia allows patients to use CBD extracts for medical purposes if a doctor recommends it, cultivating the plant is a felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison.

In other words, even if the judge wanted to give McCoy a pass, their hands would be tied. Only the jury’s leniency and right to nullify allowed the defendant avoid a serious conviction.

“Most people—and even many lawyers—are surprised to learn that juries are not required to follow the law,” Vince Sliwoski, an attorney at the Harris Bricken/Canna Law Group, wrote. “When a jury’s conscience takes over and tells it that someone does not deserve criminal punishment for his or her actions, regardless of the law, the jury can choose to acquit.”

Sliwoski offered an interesting, hypothetical scenario. What if a jury in federal court was tasked with deciding the fate of an individual charged for violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)?

“The possibility of jury nullification in a CSA case against a cannabis business is both fascinating and realistic.”

“It is realistic not just because of the favorable polling for cannabis nationwide, but also because these juries would be empaneled in jurisdictions that voted to legalize pot in the first place,” he wrote. “Imagine a hapless U.S. attorney being ordered to charge a popular cannabis farm in Humbolt County, California, which is America’s largest cannabis labor market.”

On a smaller scale, that’s similar to what actually played out in Georgia last week. Jurors exercised their right to judge not simply based on the letter of the law, but also their conscience and understanding of the context of the case. And what happened in the deep red state could be repeated in courtrooms throughout the country, which continues to grow more and more favorable toward marijuana reform.

Voters In Key Congressional Districts Support Marijuana Legalization, Poll Says

h/t FITSNEWS

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

Culture

NFL Says ‘Hype’ Over CBD Isn’t Backed By Science

Published

on

An expert panel created by the National Football League (NFL) and its players union is downplaying the potential benefits of CBD for players, stating that while the cannabis compound shows promise in the treatment of some forms of pain, the science doesn’t currently live up to the “hype.”

Following a fact-finding forum on alternatives to opioid painkillers, which involved conversations with CBD manufacturers, the Pain Management Committee for the NFL and the NFL Payers Association (NFLPA) noted on Tuesday that there’s strong interest in CBD and medical marijuana more broadly. But the panel didn’t seem convinced that the non-intoxicating ingredient would benefit players.

“CBD is a promising compound, but the level of its use in the United States outpaces the level of research at this point,” the committee wrote in a white paper for players. “Most of the hype about CBD is based upon results from animal studies.”

“Clinical trials in large numbers of people are usually needed before millions of Americans use a medication for serious medical problems,” the group said. “There are two small clinical studies that suggest that CBD may be effective for treating a kind of pain called neuropathic pain that involves a burning feeling usually in a person’s feet.”

The paper also said that because CBD products are largely unregulated, it’s hard to determine whether they are properly labeled, and there’s the potential for such products to contain THC, which could result in a positive drug test for players.

Additionally, “there may be drug-drug interactions caused by CBD or players may opt for CBD as a medical treatment in lieu of treatments with more scientific evidence supporting them,” the NFL and NFLPA committee said in another white paper intended for league medical staff.

The body also raised doubts about clinical studies into Food and Drug Administration-approved medications composed of synthetic cannabinoids that are used in the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain, arguing that those investigations relied on small sample sizes and limited follow-ups that call into question their therapeutic value.

“Of course, cannabis remains a banned substance under the NFL Policy for Substances of Abuse,” the committee concluded. “In addition, the potential problems associated with cannabis, from acute impairment of driving, addiction, and exacerbation of psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, make it a substance to approach with extreme caution.”

A fact-finding forum the panel held on Tuesday wasn’t aimed at amending league policy directly, but rather it was meant to be “an educational and scientific exercise” that “does not impact the jointly administered Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse,” the groups said in a joint statement to NFL.com.

That said, negotiations are ongoing between the league and players union, and there’s pressure on NFL to adopt a more permissive policy when it comes to marijuana, especially as more states opt to legalize it for medical or recreational purposes.

After the MLB announced last year that it is removing cannabis from its list of banned substances for baseball players, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and star quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots both said they were expecting the league to follow suit and change its marijuana policy.

MLB Officially Removes Marijuana From Banned Substances List For Baseball Players

Image element courtesy of Marco Verch.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading

Culture

Sarah Silverman Calls Out Dave Chappelle For Not Sharing His Marijuana

Published

on

Dave Chappelle is a marijuana bogart, Sarah Silverman revealed at an award ceremony honoring the fellow comedian.

In a clip from the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor gala that was posted on Sunday, Silverman talked about her long friendship with Chappelle and went on to share an anecdote about how he once visited her and smoked an entire joint himself without sharing.

“We were together in Vancouver and he came over to smoke a joint. And that’s exactly what he did,” she said. “He came over and he smoked a joint—the whole thing. Like by himself, while pontificating about everything that’s wrong with the world.”

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the world: a lack of sharing,” she joked. “I think it’s puff, puff, pass—not puff, puff, puff, puff.”

This was at least the second time that Chappelle’s affinity for mind-altering substances came up during the prestigious awards ceremony that was taped in October and is being aired on PBS on Tuesday. Another fellow comedian, Aziz Ansari, came on stage and joked about a psychedelic experience he had with Chappelle the day before he was announced as the prize’s recipient.

In that bit, Ansari said Chappelle asked him if he wanted to take psilocybin mushrooms together. While Ansari initially said he wanted to take it easy and relax, Chappelle persuaded him that eating the psychedelic fungi would be a more memorable experience to mark the occasion.

“I said, ‘Dave you’ve got a point, let’s eat those mushrooms—to Twain,'” Ansari said.

Another person with a drug story about Chappelle is podcaster Joe Rogan, who recently talked about the comedian going to a private screening of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood and eating magic mushrooms that he got from a fan. Rogan didn’t partake, but he said Chappelle gifted him an unlabeled bag of cannabis edibles.

Both psilocybin and marijuana have regularly been featured in Chappelle’s comedy routines. In 1998, for example, he joked about a time he took mushrooms (also from a stranger) and started hallucinating during a haircut.

Beyond comedy, Chappelle has also advocated for marijuana reform on a serious basis. Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who ran for governor of Maryland in 2018 on a pro-legalization platform, said Chappelle was the person who first put the idea of cannabis reform in his head.

Dave Chappelle Ate Magic Mushrooms Gifted By A Stranger, Joe Rogan Says

Photo courtesy of YouTube/Kennedy Center.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading

Culture

Dave Chappelle And Aziz Ansari Took Magic Mushrooms To Celebrate Comedy Award

Published

on

When comedian Dave Chappelle wins a prestigious award, he opts for psychedelics over champagne to celebrate, fellow comedian Aziz Ansari said

In a clip from the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor gala that was posted online this week, Ansari shared an anecdote about the night before it was announced Chappelle was the award’s recipient.

While Ansari wanted to get some rest after the two comedians finished their sets at an Austin, Texas show, Chappelle proposed that they take psilocybin mushrooms instead.

“Dave said, ‘what kind of night are you trying to have tonight, Aziz?'”

“I said, ‘I’m probably going to take it easy, we went hard yesterday and we’ve got shows tomorrow.'”

“He said, ‘well you want to eat these psychedelic mushrooms I got? They’re supposed to be amazing.'”

Unconvinced, Ansari said he might “just take it easy and get some rest for tomorrow,” but his partner wasn’t deterred.

“He said, ‘well, Aziz, no one knows this, but tomorrow they’re going to announce that I am the winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.’

“And he said, ‘what are you going to tell your kids 20 years from now, Aziz? Are you going to tell them, I was there the day Dave Chappelle found out he won the Mark Twain award and we ate mushrooms together and we had the night of our lives? Or are you going to tell them you got some sleep?'”

Ansari, who described the back-and-forth at the award ceremony, which was taped in October, acquiesced: “I said, ‘Dave you’ve got a point, let’s eat those mushrooms—to Twain.'”

It’s unclear if the psilocybin mushrooms the pair shared are the same ones that Chappelle apparently got from a stranger ahead of a private screening of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood—another recent psilocybin anecdote about the comedian that was shared by podcaster Joe Rogan.

While Rogan didn’t partake in the psychedelic fungus, he said Chappelle did gift him a bag of unlabeled marijuana edibles.

Chappelle has joked about his marijuana and magic mushrooms experience in several of his comedy routines—including a 1998 bit where he also talked about taking shrooms he got from a stranger and then hallucinating during a haircut.

But the comedian has also seriously advocated for cannabis policy reform. Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who ran for governor of Maryland in 2018 on a pro-legalization platform, credited Chappelle for first putting the idea of marijuana reform in his head.

PBS is set to air a special on Chappelle’s Twain prize on Tuesday.

Elon Musk Makes Marijuana Joke After Tesla’s Stock Hits $420

Image elements courtesy of John Bauld and David Shankbone.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!