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Michigan farmer with 8,000 pot plants gets probation

By Ed White

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:17 a.m. HST, Jun 25, 2013

DETROIT » A southeastern Michigan farmer recovering from throat cancer was sentenced to probation instead of prison today for growing thousands of marijuana plants, due partly to many handwritten letters from supporters who described him as a modest, selfless man who helps others at every turn.

"This is one that most screams out: This man deserves a break," U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said.

Edwin Schmieding, 61, was caught growing 8,000 marijuana plants at his Lenawee County farm and greenhouse in 2011. His wife told police that they were trying to tap the state's medical marijuanamarket, although production that large is illegal.

Schmieding's attorney, Sanford Schulman, noted that most plants were small and of low quality.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," Schmieding told the judge as relatives wept in the courtroom gallery. "I've lived a hard-working life. I give you my word: I'll be a responsible citizen."

Schmieding began growing marijuana in 2010 after years of growing cut flowers and other plants. He and wife Linda lived in a home built with their own hands and warmed by firewood during winter.

Friedman was influenced by letters from relatives and friends, even Schmieding's former wife, in the rural area. A neighbor said Schmieding regularly lent tools and helped him pour concrete. Family members said they were inspired by his modesty and independence as well as his courage during cancer treatments.

"Because of this farming that will someday be legal ... his family lost everything. He has suffered enough," brother-in-law Arthur Radabaugh wrote.

Michigan voters in 2008 approved the use of marijuana to relieve the side effects of certain illnesses. But only licensed caregivers and users can grow it in relatively small quantities.

Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Barrington Wilkins did not object to a departure from the sentencing guidelines. Friedman gave Schmieding credit for a day in custody and placed him on supervised release, or probation, for two years.

Schmieding still is likely to lose his farm because of the drug conviction.

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cojef wrote:
Can symphatizefor his actions to be self-sufficient growing paklolo for his own use, as a cancer patient, but 8,000 plants? However, social conscience prevailed and the judicial system did lean back a little for him. Cancer patients go through of many hurts, wouldn't care to be in their shoes. Spouse is a recovering cancer patient for over 12 years.
on June 25,2013 | 08:34AM
Bdpapa wrote:
You know, I'm anti marijuana except for medicinal use. But, I too, for some reason see something different on this case.
on June 25,2013 | 09:06AM
Anonymous wrote:
anti marijuana? But I bet you have no problem with booze, cigarettes or popping whatever pills the doctors prescribe. Those 3 things should be illegal, not an all natural plant.
on June 25,2013 | 09:35AM
Bdpapa wrote:
If its legal. Use those items judiciously.
on June 25,2013 | 12:47PM
RichardCory wrote:
Whatever. That means there were 8,000 less marijuana plants feeding money into Mexican drug (blood) cartels, so he is a hero and a lifesaver as far as I'm concerned.
on June 25,2013 | 09:14AM
glory_glory_man_utd wrote:
This guys gets probation and Roger Christie cannot get a trial or bail in 3 years?
on June 25,2013 | 09:49AM
lowtone123 wrote:
He found a crop that has just a little more profit margin than cut flowers?
on June 25,2013 | 10:34AM
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