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High Times Publisher and NORML Founder Mount Legal Challenge to Massachusetts Pot Laws!

  • by NORML March 18, 2008

    On Saturday, September 15, 2007, NORML Founder Keith Stroup and High Times associate publisher Rick Cusick were arrested for smoking a joint at the 18th annual Boston Freedom Rally on the Boston Common. This is an event held each year to protest the continued arrest of responsible cannabis consumers in that state, and depending on the weather, it attracts from 15,000 to 50,000 supporters to the Common.

    Keith and Rick have candidly acknowledged that they were sharing a joint, but they have pled not guilty and announced their intentions to challenge the constitutionality of the Massachusetts marijuana laws, and to argue for a jury instruction informing the jurors of their common law power to refuse to convict an individual, if they do not believe the offense should be a criminal matter. This long-held power of jurors is generally called jury nullification.

    More after the jump…

    Keith and Rick are some of the very few people in this country who have nothing to fear from the government, as their livelihoods are not affected by the publicizing of their marijuana use. To them, the potential of six months in jail is well worth the prospect of potentially changing the law and setting good precedent at the appellate level. They are represented by an all star legal team, including famous Harvard Law professor Charlie Nesson, who represented Daniel Ellsberg in the famous Pentagon Papers case during Watergate.

    There were nearly 830,000 Americans arrested on marijuana charges last year, and more than 88% of those were for personal use. In Massachusetts there were more than 8,900 marijuana arrests last year, with more than 7,300 for personal use. It is time we stopped treating responsible cannabis consumers like criminals.

    As our press advisory indicates, the pretrial hearing in this matter is scheduled for next Thursday, March 20. If you live in the Boston area, please consider coming down to the court to show your support on the morning of March 20th. If you cannot attend, please consider making a generous contribution to help us cover the necessary costs of bringing this legal challenge to Massachusetts’ marijuana laws. We must have the courage to stand up and demand our rights.

    Together, we can finally win the struggle and stop the practice of arresting cannabis consumers.

    Ron Fisher
    NORML Outreach Coordinator
    norml@norml.org

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