Legal Issues

Police seize 70+ marijuana plants from Sandy Springs home (image via Statesman)
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Suspect in major marijuana bust claims he's family man, 'First Church of Cannabis' member

Jun 8, 2015

 

Statesman -   NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Police say they’ve confiscated more than 70 marijuana plants, packaged pot, cash and a gun from a metro Atlanta home.

Investigators told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik exclusively that they received a tip from the Missouri Highway Patrol that Wesley Johnson, 38, was moving large quantities of marijuana from his Johnson Ferry Road home.
 
“Prior to them arriving to the front door they could actually smell the marijuana emitting from the location,” said Sgt. Ron Momon. “They knocked on the door, met the individual. He identified himself. They asked him for consent to search the place and he denied the consent to search.”
 
Momon said Johnson identified himself as a member of the “First Church of Cannabis,” an organization that is pushing for the legalization of marijuana.
 
“He admitted to our detectives that he had just finished smoking a bowl of marijuana,” said Momon.
 
Video obtained by Petchenik shows detectives executing a search warrant in the home, and finding dozens of plants in various stages of growth.
 
“(He) had special rooms in the house, lighting, all the normal setup,” he said. “We actually have pictures of books that he had instructing him on growing marijuana.”
 
Johnson is charged with trafficking marijuana, distribution of marijuana and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies. Police said he could face additional charges because his home is near a church, school and a public library.
 
Petchenik tracked down Johnson at his home Friday.
 
“I love my family more than anything,” he said.  “I’m a family man and I’ve been criminalized because of my beliefs.”
 
Johnson said he’s a part of a growing movement that seeks to decriminalize marijuana.
 
“I think the main reason I’m so passionate about this cause is I’ve personally seen people who have been able to ease their suffering before they passed on,” he said.  “A lot of us are believers that this plant was given to us by God.”
 
Johnson said he is a follower of such web sites as www.rescheduleme.org, which seeks to have marijuana classified as medicinal and not in the same category as heroin.
 
People are dying left and right from heroin and it’s a fact that you could ingest or smoke as much cannabis as you want, it’s impossible to overdose on it,” he said.
 
Johnson’s attorney told Petchenik he looks forward to his day in court.
 
“There are many states now where marijuana is either allowed medically, including Georgia for specific diseases, and other states where it’s recreational,” said Lawrence Zimmerman. “The time of sending people to prison for marijuana should be behind us, and it is sad that to this day people are still going to prison for possession of marijuana, or even giving marijuana to a friend.”
 

“If you choose to consume, please do so responsibly.” 

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