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Man gets 60 days for ‘medicinal’ marijuana possession

BY Sarah smith

A defiant David Patterson vowed that he would not stop smoking pot as he was led in handcuffs to begin his jail sentence for marijuana possession.

A Hubbard County jury convicted the Laporte man in February of possessing seven pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute it.

His guilt was never in doubt. Patterson admitted refining the cannabis into a healing oil that he said has been used for centuries, since Biblical times, to cure ailments such as the Crohn’s Disease he suffers from. Skin cancer can be cured in four days, he told Judge Paul Rasmussen in an impassioned plea Monday in court.

A 12-member jury convicted Patterson of two counts of Fifth Degree Drug Possession in less than 30 minutes.

“I’ve got to watch my relatives die when I can’t make medicine for them,” Patterson implored the court.

“I’m not a criminal,” he added. “It’s crazy that I’ve been forced to act like I am.”

Rasmussen sentenced him to a year and a day in jail, which will be stayed except for 60 days.

He will be on supervised probation for five years. During that time, he is not to use or possess drugs and must submit to random checks.

Patterson said he fears for his health if he cannot use cannabis.

“Oxycontin is poison,” he said, referring to traditional medicine used to treat his ailments.

He said in sentencing him to jail, the court was depriving him “of my Constitutional right to protect people from harm.”

His attorney, Frank Bibeau, said after the sentencing that Patterson has helped people suffering from various ailments and was not a typical drug dealer “like 100 of them out there.”

One of Patterson’s neighbors showed up in court to testify on his behalf but Rasmussen said it was not necessary.

Patterson truly believes in the healing power of cannabis, Bibeau said.

The defendant was arrested recently for having marijuana in a motor vehicle, 10 days after his trial. That case is pending.

“He has no reservations about continuing to smoke marijuana on a daily basis,” said Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne, in asking for the year’s sentence.

As laws legalizing marijuana are liberalized throughout the state and nation, Bibeau said he hopes someday his client can be pardoned.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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