Judge rejects Rastafarian defense seeking reduced charge

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana judge rejected an argument by a man who asked a marijuana possession charge against him be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor because he follows the Rastafari faith.

The South Bend Tribune reports 30-year-old Jerome Scott contended he was doing good for others by cultivating marijuana to ease ailments from chronic back pain to cancer. Scott and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Melanie Schmidt, see Indiana marijuana laws as unjust.

Woodward Miller ordered Scott to serve 18 months on probation and sentenced Schmidt to 12 months on probation.

Scott has a license in Michigan to grow marijuana for other approved patients as a “caregiver.” He says his felony conviction will ruin his chances of having his license renewed.

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