Letters keep pot grower out of prison
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 6:21 p.m.
DETROIT — A southeastern Michigan farmer recovering from throat cancer was sentenced to probation instead of prison on Tuesday for growing thousands of marijuana plants, partly because of 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 marijuana market, 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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Imam’s influence detailed as NYC terror trial begins
- National Portrait Gallery features abstract expressionism of familiar faces
- Husband accused in slaying ate pot candy, police say
- Another arrest made in abduction of N.C. prosecutor’s father
- Deal reached in Ukraine crisis talks, but U.S. remains wary of Russia’s end game
- Heroin-related deaths set record in Ohio
- Obamacare estimates beaten by 1M
- Reid calls Nevada rancher’s supporters ‘terrorists’ over armed confrontation
- Scientists achieve cloning advance for use in treating diseases
- Clinton donor pleads guilty in illegal campaign contributions
- Law firm that cleared Christie recently gave $10K to GOP governors group