Nonviolent Criminal with 8,000 Pot Plants Gets Probation, Not Jail

Here's a crazy idea: A Michigan man convicted of having a large quantity of pot—a plant that everyone smokes to get a little high now and again—was recently given probation by a judge who thought it stupid to send a guy to jail for years just because he got busted growing weed. Wow. Can America survive this kind of insanely rational justice?

The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman showed great leniency to Edwin Schmieding today, sentencing Schmieding to no jail and just two years of probation after the 61-year-old was caught with 8,000 marijuana plants on his farm in 2011. Schmieding and his wife had been hoping to get involved with Michigan's legal medical marijuana trade, although growing that large of a crop is highly prohibited.

Schmieding, who is recovering from throat cancer, received support throughout his trial from friends and relatives who sent letters vouching for his kindness and generosity to Judge Friedman. "This is one that most screams out: This man deserves a break," Friedman said in court today.

Wonderful. And surely exactly how this all would have played out if Schmieding had been a 19-year-old black kid instead of a middle-aged white guy. Ha ha ha. But seriously this is pretty good.

[Image via AP]