Pot case dismissed against Nevada County man charged with transportation
A Nevada County prosecutor opted to dismiss a marijuana transportation case Tuesday, in part because the defendant was a valid member of a collective, but also due to the potential legalization of recreational marijuana.
Jonathan Penrod was facing charges of transporting marijuana for sale and possession of concentrated cannabis stemming from a May 2015 arrest, when he was pulled over by a California Highway Patrol officer with approximately 10 pounds of pot in his vehicle.
Penrod was stopped because he reportedly was acting suspiciously, and a subsequent search of his vehicle revealed two large bags of marijuana partially hidden under children’s items. The officer also reportedly located about $1,500 in cash, several pipes and pay-owe sheets.
A preliminary hearing into the evidence against Penrod was scheduled to take place Tuesday morning in Nevada County Superior Court.
But Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips agreed to dismiss the case after Penrod waived any claim to the seized marijuana.
According to Phillips, there were two principal reasons to dismiss charges against Penrod.
For one, Penrod had produced paperwork that showed he was a valid member of a collective, including a declaration from a CPA that the collective was a nonprofit.
Phillips also cited the potential change in the law regulating cannabis in California.
“Common sense suggests that if recreational marijuana gets legalized in November, it probably will make it more difficult to obtain convictions for marijuana charges that occurred prior to November,” Phillips said.
“There are still some crimes that will be of concern to the public, like butane honey oil labs that explode,” Phillips continued. “The public understands that is a problem. But the guy who has a couple of ounces, or even a pound of marijuana that he’s driving around without his recommendation — that will be a tough sell (to juries).”
Penrod’s attorney, Ron Blair, said even if the law doesn’t change, the District Attorney’s office would not have been able to successfully prosecute his client.
“He is, and was, a valid qualified patient under the medical cannabis laws, and a member of a valid California collective and nonprofit,” Blair said. “If this had gone to trial, they would never get a jury to find him guilty.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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