Edwin Schmeiding, a recovering throat cancer patient, was arrested for growing 8,000 plants on his Lenawee, MI farm in 2011. His wife Linda told police that they were growing for the medical marijuana market. In a decision rendered Tuesday, June 25, the court declined to send Schmeiding to prison for exceeding state-mandated plant limits for medical grows, recognizing his role in the community as a hardworking, modest man known for helping others. Handwritten letters from many supporters influenced US District Judge Bernard Friedman’s decision. Assistant US Attorney C. Barrington Wilkins didn’t object to the departure from sentencing guidelines, saying Schmeiding “wasn’t intending to be Pablo Escobar.”

Friedman gave Schmeiding credit for a day in custody, and two years’ probation, saying, “It’s a bad thing that’s happened to you but you’ve lived a good life.” Charges against Linda Schmeiding were dropped. Sadly, the Schmeidings still stand to lose their farm because of the drug conviction.