Scottsville Man Cops to Medical Marijuana

Scottsville’s Gary Peck has pleaded guilty to growing marijuana, but argues that it was for his sick wife, Liesel Nowak wrote in Tuesday’s Daily Progress. The man’s wife suffers from multiple sclerosis, which at least one study has demonstrated is helped considerably by the consumption of marijuana, leading to both short- and long-term relief of symptoms. The drug slows the death of nerve cells and protect existing nerve cells against damage, slowing the spread of the disease. Peck’s wife cited its effect on her appetite, which allows her to eat despite the nausea induced by her prescribed medications.

Peck was accused of growing $4.8M in weed, but that’s using the police’s “street value” logic, which is akin to determining the “street value” of a sack of flour by calculating how many wedding cakes it could make. The court determined $35k was a fairer value, apparently agreeing with the man’s attorney, who calculates that the haul would only yield a few pounds of smokable marijuana. Peck will be sentenced in July. He may well receive 30 years in prison.

22 thoughts on “Scottsville Man Cops to Medical Marijuana”

  1. I’ve never used an illegal substance, and probably don’t ever intend to, but yet I find that putting non-violent people in jail for using a substance they’ve grown themselves to be idiotic. If we have to tie up the courts on these cases, and use up my tax dollars, then why not give them community service instead?

  2. The Progress story is quite a read. Here’s another a taste:

    “Also present in Albemarle County Circuit Court was Peck’s wife, Cindy, a petite woman who shook visibly and required forearm crutches when she walked into the courtroom.

    “When a clerk read aloud the indictments against Peck during his arraignment, asking if Peck “unlawfully cultivated marijuana not for personal use,” Cindy Peck blurted out from the front row: “No. Medical. Medical marijuana.””

  3. Who was being harmed by this? Nobody. Not a damn person, and that we spend money, time and resources tracking down and prosecuting these people is remarkable waste.

  4. Who is prosecuting this? I don’t want any prosecutor who supposedly represents me pushing for a pot grower to go to prison for 30 years. I have a hard time believing that most Albemarle voters want non-violent criminals accused of victimless crimes to be locked up for years.

    Meanwhile, the guy who murdered that firefighter from Free Union got what? Something like 2 years in the city court (not Camblos’ territory)? This isn’t the kind of performace from prosecutors that Albemarle County wants. A prosecutor is supposed to be *our* lawyer. It’s about time that we had a prosecutor who represents our values and our interests.

  5. I remember when this story first broke, JADE (Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement) announced that the found 5 million dollars of pot growing in this guys back yard. The local media ran the story without any sort of follow up questions to the cops like “How the hell can you grow 5 million dollars worth of weed in your back yard? And if you can, in fact, grow $5 Million worth of weed in you back yard, why aren’t more people doing it?” They are Sheep


    I do love a bunch of lawyers, the General Assembly, telling the medical community how best to treat patients. They better hope that Karma never catches up to them

  6. Why am I surprised at such a consensus on this issue?

    Ashcroft, eat your heart out.

  7. The trouble is, the WOD is a jobs program for law enforcement. You have to recognize how much of their budget rests on the entire drug enforcement business.

    The best part, from their perspective, of prosecuting Pot growers like Peck is that they’re relatively non-violent and easy to track. They can work wonders with ‘gaming’ the statistics – I’d bet the arrest/seizure records continue to reflect their initial “4.8M” estimate, rather than anything grounded in reality, so they can continue to tout their great work and great success and generally convince us of the ‘urgency of the problem’. In the meantime, of course, the “war” remains un-win-able, and the police are guaranteed this revenue stream won’t dry up.

    It’s a heck of a lot easier to go arrest peaceful homeowners for the plants in their yards than it is try to to find and arrest real criminals – serial rapists and other violent offenders. Much as Camblos is typical of the stupid-as-rocks mentality of the whole LE complex pursing this “war”, he is hardly alone. Chip Harding and the rest of “JADE” is just as culpable. They are really parasites on the citizenry, rather than serving and protecting.

  8. Cville Libertarian beat me to my comment. It’s all about more money for the police and the share the police get through asset forfeiture (which in my opinion makes them willing partners in the illegal drug trade).

  9. A couple thoughts:

    As to the potential 30-year sentence: I am no defender of Jim Camblos. However, there is no indication in the DP article that Camblos is “pushing for” the statutory maximum 30 year sentence, and even if he did I’d take issue with the suggestion that Peck “may well” receive such a sentence. I almost hope that Camblos does push for it, however – I cannot imagine a jury (or judge, for that matter) going for it, and it would be one more thing to add to the litany of reasons why he should be returned to private practice.

    As to the role of the police – the role of law enforcement is to enforce the law – to suggest otherwise is misguided and counterproductive. No argument from me that the so-called “war on drugs”, while well-intentioned, is shortsighted and ineffective, if not downright harmful. That said, it’s illegal to grow pot, and while I’m sypmathetic with the guy, Peck had 4,200 plants growing on his property. What exactly was the police department supposed to do – pretend they didn’t see what was in plain sight? If a law is stupid (and this one is, IMHO), write/call/lobby your legislators to change the law. Don’t rail against those whose job it is to enforce the laws, be they stupid or otherwise.

  10. FWIW, it’s also illegal in Charlottesville to spit or swear. Neither of those are enforced. While I do agree with your thesis that it’s unproductive to blame police for enforcing the laws, it should also be considered that it’s the police that determine how to best make use of their limited resources. They have clearly decided prosecuting spitting doesn’t make the list.

  11. True enough, but spitting and swearing aren’t felonies.

    More to the point – I’m not a prosecutor or in law enforcement, but I think it’s a safe bet that each directs their limited resources where the public dictates. Commenters to this thread aside, the public (or at least the most vocal components thereof) continues to see drug use/abuse as a criminal issue and not a health issue.

    Education is key….

  12. FWIW, many nationwide polls have demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of the nation supports reducing penalties for possession of marijuana to a ticket, and likewise supports medical use of marijuana. Those, of course, are national polls, not Virginia polls and, as you point out, poll far more than the most vocal components of our population.

  13. Wags – your gloss on this makes it sound like the LE complex is an agnostic bystander on policy, simply the implementer of our political decisions. This ignores the reality that LE organizations lobby very heavily for enforcement – they routinely lobby against reform and in favor of harsher sentences. For example, in California the single largest lobbying organization, as measured in dollars, is the Prison Guards Union. Their single-issue is the preservation and maintenance of the three strikes laws. “Private” (eg, corporate welfare recipients) prison businesses such as CCA and Wackenhut are completely dependent on the public teat and have an incentive to lobby for policies which result in a larger “market” for them – more prisoners.

    This is all, of course, funded with our tax dollars – we spend a fortune in Virginia locking up non-violent offenders. It’s far, far cheaper to simply give them drugs and keep them on welfare than it is to lock them up. Seriously. I am offended at having to pay to support an ‘addict’ – I earn my own keep and pay my own bills – but if I’m going to be stuck subdizing them, for goodness’ sakes, let’s do it on the cheap. Really…it is cheaper to just give heroin addicts heroin for free, and clean needles, and house them in group homes than it is to do what we do – given a free supply they just pretty much titrate to maintenance level, tend not to OD so much, and don’t get involved in crime.

    The *only* reason for the status quo is the entrenched public law enforcement bureaurocracy and the corporate welfare recipients who kick back in lobbying and campaign dollars.

  14. I’m with you on the prison guards union and Wackenhut et al. – no question that the prison systems, both public and private, favor incarceration over rehabilitation.

    That’s a bit different, however, from pointing fingers at individual law enforcement officers/units here in Charlottesville, which is where this string started out.

    On a somewhat lighter note – I was on the debate team in high school many many years ago and one of the most successful platforms we ran was arguing for the legalization of heroin, as you suggest. Once the other team picked their jaws up off of the floor, they were hard-pressed to come up with an effective rebuttal to the arguments that you outline.

  15. The individuals I ‘fingered’ – whatever their personal private views – are very vocal and eager participants in the propaganda cycle. I stand by my characterizations of them and their public attitudes.

    Yeah, unless you are an irrational prohibitionist there is just no way to defend the War On (some) Drugs. I don’t see my cigars or wine being confiscated.

  16. Lots of good,perceptive comments here. Indeed, why not go after craack and meth and let people growing pot plants alone? And certainly not prosecute anyone for medical marijuana.
    Problem is, like someone pointed out, you have those favoring a repressive WOD policy, on the one hand. And on the other side, spineless liberals who fear being seen as “soft on drugs.”
    As a result,nothing changes, and sick people and their friends and families fac criminal charges.

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