A kid by the name of Touray Cornell faced a felony charge: possession of an illegal substance punishable by serious prison time. The substance: marijuana, found by a police raid on his home. The amount: 1/16th of an ounce.
One-sixteenth of an ounce equals less than two grams. Too little to roll in a cigarette paper. You could be carrying 1/16th of an ounce of pot around in your pant cuff right now and not even know it. But Touray Cornell was charged and he was going down, just as soon as Dusty Deschamps, District Judge for Missoula County could select a jury.
Er…small problem. When each prospective juror learned what the case was about and how much ‘drug’ was involved, they refused to serve. Juror after juror told the judge they would refuse to convict anyone over such a miniscule amount of pot. Twenty-seven prospective jurors were polled; 22 of them said that not only would they not convict, but the whole farce was “a waste of taxpayer money.” “It’s a mutiny,” wailed the District Attorney.
High time too. The war on marijuana has been going on for 100 years, give or take. It is impossible to calculate the Himalayas of money, man hours and human grief it’s cost, but the price tag is surely in the hundreds of billions of dollars; the lives blighted too numerous to comprehend.
And the result? Some time ago you pretty much had to be on a first-name basis with a jazz musician if you wanted to score some pot. Nowadays? Just hang out around any schoolyard or shopping mall and look interested. The Grade 8 connection will find you.