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New Jersey man's conviction upheld by appellate court


On Aug. 7, a New Jersey appellate court refused to overturn the drug conviction of a man who claimed that he used marijuana for medical reasons. The man has given himself the nickname of NJ Weedman and claims that making the drug illegal violates his right to practice his Rastafarian religion. He was taken into custody on the charges in April 2010 when police saw his car run a red light.

At the time, authorities conducted a traffic stop on Route 38 in Burlington County, and they smelled marijuana when they approached his vehicle. Police then searched the car and found a pound of the drug in a suitcase in addition to drug paraphernalia. The man claimed that it was for medicinal use as opposed to personal use. He also claimed that the search was conducted illegally.

He was originally charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, but was cleared on the intent to distribute portion. The man said that he plans to appeal the appellate court's 31-page decision to the state Supreme Court, but it was not clear when that would happen. It is also not clear if he is currently serving a sentence or what penalties he faces if his conviction is not overturned.

A conviction on drug charges, may lead to incarceration as well as significant fines.Those who have been charged with a drug crime may wish to talk to an attorney to develop a defense strategy. It may be possible to cast doubt on witness testimony or other evidence as a means to negotiate a plea bargain or have the charges completely dropped.

Source: New Jersey 101.5, "Marijuana activist loses bid to overturn drug conviction", Associated Press, Aug. 9, 2015

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