Ray Martin McFeters, 73, has probably smoked a bowl for all 10,000 lakes in his home state of Minnesota. Now the Aitkin County Sheriff's Department wants to incarcerate him for growing pot to fill all those bowls. If convicted, the Air Force veteran could spend the remainder of his life behind bars.
As reported by the Mille Lacs Messenger, McFeters was arrested in April after sheriffs received an anonymous tip that he was growing weed inside his Mille Lacs Lake residence. McFeters freely told Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Guida that he was growing for personal use and even showed Guida his growroom, which lead to his arrest and charges of felony possession and failure to affix cannabis tax stamps to his stash. The latter charge carries a maximum seven-year sentence. A marijuana "tax stamp" is a revenue-generating, Catch-22 scam in which a marijuana suspect can be doubly charged for not affixing tax stamps"to a substance that isn't legal to begin with. (Minnesota has no medical marijuana laws on the books and no adult recreational use provision.)
At the time of his arrest, McFeters was growing 22 plants total, on five different growing cycles, in varying stages of growth. He vehemently disputes the amount of weed the police claim he was cultivating. He says it's closer to an ounce (28 grams) of actual bud, while the cops report that they confiscated 175 grams -- almost six ounces -- a profound difference that carries a felony possession charge, as opposed to a misdemeanor for less than 42.5 grams or less. McFeters told the Messenger: "Only two of the plants were almost ready for harvest. He [Deputy Guida] stuffed all the plants in plastic bags and weighed everything -- the leaves, the stems, even the dirt on the roots." Guida denied in court that he weighed anything but smokeable bud.
McFeters openly admits he was growing weed for his personal use, but no further than that: "I've never been a dealer. Oh God, no. I never have enough for myself." McFeters has disclosed that he was sexually abused as a youth and that cannabis helps him deal with the lifelong trauma.
Messenger reporter Rob Passons told HIGH TIMES that McFeters pleaded not guilty at a July 1 hearing in Aitkin County District Court. He is subject to urinalysis and has already failed one test. McFeters has secured the pro bono services of respected defense attorney Walter Kaminski, who is currently attempting to access the evidence room of the Sheriff's Department in order to determine the actual amount of pot seized by the cops.
McFeters' next hearing is scheduled for July 22. Passons anticipates the charges against him will be reduced to a misdemeanor.