Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Growing marijuana in Douglas County, Kan. apparently not such a big deal

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge marijuana_leaf_pic.jpg

Big news, pot heads: move to Douglas County, Kansas, where your homegrown head-stash isn't such a big deal.

Last week, the Douglas County District Attorney's office handed a sentence of 12 months probation to 24-year-old pot grower impresario Rai Shed Abdu Yahia, who pleaded no contest to charges that he and his roommate, Alexander Abbas Faoud Farran, were growing 28 plants of the sticky-icky-icky in their residence in Baldwin City.

District Attorney Charles Branson said his office uses its discretion to throw the proverbial book at big time, big profit drug manufacturers with sophisticated set-ups -- not a couple of college kids who set up some soil, seedlings and lights in a closet and "hope everything works."

"When we typically look at folks trying to grow their own, we try to place those [cases] in a little different of a category," Branson said. "It's not what the legislators intended to have the full heavy ax fall on those people in those types of categories."

In September, acting from an informant's tip, police raided Yahia's

residence on Eisenhower Street and found the operation, including grow

lights and plants in various stages of maturity. Yahia and Farran were

subsequently charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a

non-person level four drug felony, and possession of marijuana, a class

A non-person misdemeanor.

Though any operation with more than five

plants could qualify for a much more severe cultivation charge,

District Attorney Branson opted not to go that route, saying there was

no evidence of marijuana sales -- at least not big enough to justify

devoting the state's resources to investigate and prosecute -- though

there was suspicion that the grower was supplying friends.

Yahia

was officially sentenced to 12 months of probation and 13 months prison

time, but the state of Kansas' sentencing guidelines for someone with

his scant criminal history (on a scale of A to I, he was an H) for that

crime is probation, said Cheryl Wright, assistant district attorney.

Under

the conditions of his probation, if Yahia pees dirty he could end up in

the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections, like for real. And

a 13 month jail sentence hangs over his head to make sure he's a good

boy.

Farran is seeking a diversion on similar charges in the

case. If granted, he'll have a chance to expunge any evidence of the

alleged crime from his record if he successfully completes his

probation.

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