On Nov. 29, a Mesa County jury found Brenda Maggio, 60, not guilty of all charges related to marijuana possession over the legal limit and intent to distribute 30 pounds of weed. Her son, Javier, took a plea bargain instead of chancing it with a jury.
In recent years, juries have become incredibly powerful agents against pot prohibition. Colorado juries are known for acquitting defendants charged with weed DUIs, especially if the defendant (1) is a medical patient and (2) didn’t fail the roadside tests. In other states with reformed pot laws, juries have acquitted not only medical patients, but cultivators and distributors as well.
Even the New York Times jumped into the fray in 2011, with an op-ed piece urging all American juries to find weed defendants “not guilty” regardless of whether the defendants broke laws on the books. Juries can wield this power using a little-known constitutional right called “jury nullification.”
Maggio’s defense attorney, David Eisner, did not request jury nullification, although he did unsuccessfully request that the judge dismiss all charges in September. Instead, he argued his client never broke the law in the first place. In Colorado,…