Religion or Not, Man Still Punished for Pot

November 24, 2007

Source: News Tribune

A Norwich man’s religious belief was not enough to convince a judge to reduce his jail time for marijuana possession.

Vernon Smith, 43, is a Rastafarian who believes his use of pot is a God-given right. He had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to sell after police found him with more than 20 pounds of the drug in July.

In New London Superior Court on Nov. 15, Smith’s lawyer argued unsuccessfully for a reduced sentence. Prosecutors successfully sought a term of 21/2 years in prison and three years probation.