There is little room in America’s criminal justice system for common sense and enforcing laws to occupy the same space. This is especially true when it comes to continuing the extremely flawed War on Drugs, which also happens to be highly profitable for law enforcement agencies (collective government expenditures enforcing marijuana laws are about $20 billion).
A 66-year-old man in Bluffton, S.C., faces years in jail that would leave his chronically ill wife of 40 years to fend for herself after local police discovered marijuana plants growing on the couple’s property.
Frank Dennis Peters turned himself in to police after investigators discovered 137 plants growing in his yard.
While the volume of plants present may seem a little extreme for personal medical use, some professional marijuana growers (yes, there is such a thing — and it’s legitimate business in some parts of the Nation where marijuana prohibition has been reversed) suggest that skeptics should take into account that not all of the plants would produce marijuana with medicinal value and that Peter’s harvest would likely need to last for the duration of a year.
Peters told authorities that his wife suffers a number of debilitating conditions, including fibromyalgia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and was able to manage some of her symptoms with cannabis more effectively and with fewer side effects than prescription pharmaceuticals.
“I have a moral obligation to make my wife as comfortable as possible,” he said of the risky decision to grow pot.
Island Packet reports that Peters was fully cooperative with police, even brewing a pot of coffee for the officers as they accounted for and confiscated the plants. After tests confirmed that the plants were marijuana, Peters made arrangements for a caregiver for his wife and turned himself in. He was later released from the Beaufort County Detention Center on his own recognizance.
Eighteen U.S. States and the District of Columbia currently allow the possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes — up to 24 ounces in the State of Washington and a less definite “60-day supply” in Massachusetts.
Remarkably, medicinal marijuana has also been legal in the State of South Carolina, where Peters was arrested, for more than three decades, but only if it is purchased from the State’s Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Guess what? The Department has never sold so much as a cannabis leaf, because marijuana is illegal under Federal law.