’s Follow-Up on Rich Paul

2013_04_20_freerichHarry Cheadle over at wrote up a follow-up article on Rich Paul and his struggles with prohibition laws: 

Last month I wrote about Rich Paul, a pro-marijuana activist in Keene, New Hampshire, who was facing 81 years in prison for selling marijuana. Rich had refused plea-bargain deals (including one that would have let him walk away with no jail time) because he wanted to stand up for his principles—weed is basically harmless and you should be allowed to smoke it and sell it to your friends. “Somebody had to stand up and say that this is wrong, and I thought I might well be that guy,” Rich emailed me. “I took the risk and now we’ll find out whether I bet my life well.”

Two days after he wrote that, the jury found Rich guilty, sending him to prison for a long, long time for a nonviolent crime.*

That’s not so strange, because Rich essentially admitted that he sold a whole bunch of weed to an FBI informant. His defense didn’t rely on convincing anyone he wasn’t breaking the law—he wanted to convince the jury that the law itself was wrong. In other words, he was leaning on the principle of jury nullification, which is the idea that juries can vote to acquit people who have clearly broken the law if they think that the law shouldn’t exist in the first place.

“I wasn’t shocked,” Rich admitted to me in a video recorded from jail. “Jury nullification is a long shot.” Even so, he’s planning on appealing to the New Hampshire Supreme Court on the grounds that the judge misled the jury on what nullification is.

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  1. Shame on the jury. This man engaged in consensual transactions with adults. No one was harmed, nothing was damaged, but the jury decided the taxpayers should feed and house this man for the rest of his life? Are they high?!?!?

    Average inmate cost per year is something like $25,000.

    Multiply that by 81 years…and to jail Mr. Paul will ultimately cost $20,250,000.00, MORE THAN TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS.

    For selling a substance less harmful than alcohol to consenting adults.

  2. The one thing this story chooses to ignore is that he was also selling LSD, which likely accounts for the lion’s share of his sentence. Knowing full well that the sale of LSD is punished quite harshly in the United States, he refused an EXTREMELY generous plea bargain that would have let him walk. For his “principles”…which include selling a highly dangerous chemical that has a well documented history of causing severe psychological damage that people occasionally never recover from.

    If the world ever needed proof that marijuana does not promote rational thought, here it is.


  1. RICH PAUL IS APPEALING HIS 81-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE FOR SELLING POT - Unofficial Network - [...] View original article. [...]
  2.’s Follow-Up on Rich Paul | OccuWorld - [...] Source if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = {"passthrough":{"twitter":{"via":"OccuWorld"}},"url_transforms":{"shorten":{"twitter":"bitly"}},"shorteners":{"bitly":{"login":"occuworld","apiKey":"R_cf01c2ebb80c4f93838710ff3e499fb1"}}};} var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":false,"data_track_addressbar":false,"data_track_textcopy":false,"ui_atversion":"300","ui_508_compliant":true}; var addthis_product = 'wpp-3.1';…

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