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Sick and Elderly Missouri Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail for Growing Weed
news
  |  
Sep 9, 2019

Sick and Elderly Missouri Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail for Growing Weed

Medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, but 60-year-old diabetic Steven Sutherland is feeling the full force of prohibition’s last gasp.

Lead image via

A 60-year-old Missouri man fighting diabetes, seizures, and respiratory issues was sentenced to 10 years in jail earlier this year, as a five year old trial finally came to a head. The sentencing illustrates the full brunt of America’s remaining war on weed.

According to a new report from the Riverfront Times, St. Clair, Missouri resident Steven Sutherland was arrested in 2015 after police raided his house and found 101 grams — or about 3 and a half ounces — of weed, as well as a basement grow housing 21 cannabis plants in various growth stages. Sutherland was arrested and charged with felony cannabis possession.

"When they showed up on my front porch, I was smoking a bowl and drinking a cup of coffee,” Sutherland said. “Then [an officer] grabbed me on the throat, swung me around. I had a steel brace on my leg."

Now, after years of court dates and delays due to Sutherland’s poor health, a jury convicted Sutherland on the felony charges in April of this year, with a local judge deciding on a 10 year sentence in May. 

As Sutherland begins his decade behind bars though, his health has deteriorated significantly. Sutherland wears an oxygen tank at all times in jail, but also needs a separate respiratory mask for sleep. Additionally, Sutherland’s type 2 diabetes may be complicated by a prison diet, not to mention other potential complications from his seizures. But even though Missouri recently legalized marijuana for medical purposes, the program has been marred by delays and a slow regulatory process.

Gallery — Photos of Cops Smoking Weed:

“Simply put," Sutherland's public defender, Matt Huckeby, wrote in a pre-sentencing motion, "the movement of citizens in Missouri... is indisputably away from criminal punishment for marijuana."

In the end, the judge was not swayed, and Sutherland will now sit in a cell until 2029. 

Despite a statewide move towards cannabis reform with the passing of a medical marijuana law last year, Missouri law enforcement officers have developed a reputation for draconian cannabis policing. Earlier this year, Missouri cops were chastised after a viral video showed officers searching the hospital room of a cancer patient looking for weed they never found. 

Follow Zach Harris on Twitter

zachharris

Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.

WATCH MORE FROM MERRY JANE
Sick and Elderly Missouri Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail for Growing Weed

Sick and Elderly Missouri Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail for Growing Weed

  |  
news
  |  
Sep 9, 2019

Medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, but 60-year-old diabetic Steven Sutherland is feeling the full force of prohibition’s last gasp.

Lead image via

A 60-year-old Missouri man fighting diabetes, seizures, and respiratory issues was sentenced to 10 years in jail earlier this year, as a five year old trial finally came to a head. The sentencing illustrates the full brunt of America’s remaining war on weed.

According to a new report from the Riverfront Times, St. Clair, Missouri resident Steven Sutherland was arrested in 2015 after police raided his house and found 101 grams — or about 3 and a half ounces — of weed, as well as a basement grow housing 21 cannabis plants in various growth stages. Sutherland was arrested and charged with felony cannabis possession.

"When they showed up on my front porch, I was smoking a bowl and drinking a cup of coffee,” Sutherland said. “Then [an officer] grabbed me on the throat, swung me around. I had a steel brace on my leg."

Now, after years of court dates and delays due to Sutherland’s poor health, a jury convicted Sutherland on the felony charges in April of this year, with a local judge deciding on a 10 year sentence in May. 

As Sutherland begins his decade behind bars though, his health has deteriorated significantly. Sutherland wears an oxygen tank at all times in jail, but also needs a separate respiratory mask for sleep. Additionally, Sutherland’s type 2 diabetes may be complicated by a prison diet, not to mention other potential complications from his seizures. But even though Missouri recently legalized marijuana for medical purposes, the program has been marred by delays and a slow regulatory process.

Gallery — Photos of Cops Smoking Weed:

“Simply put," Sutherland's public defender, Matt Huckeby, wrote in a pre-sentencing motion, "the movement of citizens in Missouri... is indisputably away from criminal punishment for marijuana."

In the end, the judge was not swayed, and Sutherland will now sit in a cell until 2029. 

Despite a statewide move towards cannabis reform with the passing of a medical marijuana law last year, Missouri law enforcement officers have developed a reputation for draconian cannabis policing. Earlier this year, Missouri cops were chastised after a viral video showed officers searching the hospital room of a cancer patient looking for weed they never found. 

Follow Zach Harris on Twitter

zachharris

Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.

WATCH MORE FROM MERRY JANE