Oakland, California medpot club founder and activist Jeff Jones receieved an unexpected gift from US Magistrate Judge Peter Nowinski on March 3rd.
Instead of following through a three-month federal prison sentence that he had angrily handed Jones, who was accused of distributing illegal pamphlets outside the California federal trial courtroom of medpot grower Bryan Epis last year, Nowinski announced that he had had change of heart, and instead re-sentenced Jones to three years unsupervised probation.
Before the surprise announcement, Jones had held a press conference during which he said he would go on a hunger strike if he was sent to prison.
The Jones case, like the case of Ed Rosenthal, Mike Foley, Valerie Corral, Scott Imler, Molly Fry and many other California medpot defendants persecuted by the Bush administration, has generated strong protests.
Indeed, Nowinski said he had been offered protest pamphlets and that both he and the judge in the Epis case had received threatening letters that contained an unspecified “white powder.”
Newfound reconciliation and mutual respect seemed to be the mood in Nowinski’s courtroom, as the judge basically apologized to Jones for the trouble the government had caused him while also waiving the fine Jones was ordered to pay, while Jones apologized to the judge for violating federal law by attempting to influence the Epis jury.
Bay Area activists are stunned and pleased by Jones’ reprieve, and are hoping that this bodes well for Cannabis Culture grow guru Ed Rosenthal, who was mistreated by the judge in a federal trial last month and who is petitioning the trial judge to throw out the verdict because the jury was compromised.
Jones, often described as “the boy wonder of pot,” founded the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative and has long been viewed as one of the most media savvy,hardworking, ethical and telegenic marijuana activists in the country.