Judge rejects Rastafarian defense seeking reduced charge

FILE - A marijuana plant grows at the River Rock marijuana growing facility, in Denver, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. Out of state activists, and several foreign lawmakers pushing for drug law reforms at home, took a close up look at the evolving legal marijuana industry in Colorado when they toured River Rock Wednesday. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

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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