Man pleads guilty to drug charge, sentenced to time served

FARMINGTON — A Canton man pleaded guilty in Franklin County Superior Court onTuesday to a misdemeanor charge of growing more than five marijuana plants.

Vance Billings, 34, formerly of Carthage also pleaded no contest to violating conditions of release in a separate case.

Billings was scheduled for a jury trial Wednesday but he and his attorney, Margot Joly, reached an agreement with Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson.

The agreement dismisses a felony charge of unlawful possession of scheduled drug and two misdemeanor charges of violating a protective order and theft by unauthorized taking.

Billings was charged as a co-defendant when Franklin County Sheriff's deputies discovered a  room outfitted with high energy growing lights, fans and a carbon filtering device being used to grow 74 marijuana plants in a Carthage Road residence in Carthage in February, police previously said.

Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Billings on Tuesday to 120 days in Franklin County jail on the cultivation charge and credited him with time served. He was sentenced to seven days in jail concurrent on the violation of release charge and also credited for time served.

He was ordered to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $400.

Billings has spent six and a half months in jail awaiting trial, Joly said.

Joly also said that Billings wanted to inform the court that he has been emotionally and physically abused while in jail in another county.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Green Independent Party

I wonder how many thousands of dollars have been wasted to detain and punish people for acts that are arguably less destructive than drinking alcohol.

Prop.19 in California will legalize the recreational use of marihuana. The Green Party has always favored the legalization of recreational/medicinal marihuana and to treat it as an adult substance like alcohol - highly regulated and taxed to reduce consumption (esp. for the young.)

www.MaineGreens.org - get involved!

JUST A FEW REASONS TO LEGALIZE POT:

1. To make pot more difficult for kids to buy. It might seem counter-intuitive to some, but illegal marijuana is much easier to acquire than regulated marijuana because weed dealers don’t check ID’s.

2. To make pot more difficult for kids to sell in school. Legal access to marijuana for adults removes the criminal risk markup that makes pot so profitable. After all, when was the last time you heard of a beer dealer in a high school hallway?

3. To make pot less available for transfer from young adults. Prop 19 treats marijuana like alcohol as a privilege for age 21 and older. Since stricter punishments for adults have been implemented, consumption of alcohol has decreased. We propose similar measures for marihuana.

4. To decrease the profits of violent criminals. Prohibited marijuana brings with it the same problems as prohibited alcohol did – gangs and violence. We don’t see bootleggers shooting up the streets over whiskey distribution any more.

5. To increase public trust of law enforcement. It is unknown how many of millions of annual users fail to report crimes for fear of police interviewing them and discovering the marijuana they possess or grow.

6. To prioritize our law enforcement. Measures to legalize marihuana focuses police priorities away from adults who enjoy marijuana responsibly and onto real crime. It also saves millions of dollars from the failed War on Drugs.

7. To provide easier access to cheaper medicine. No permission slips you have to carry around with you. No raids on dispensaries. Legalized marihuana would be less expensive too.

9. To create much-needed jobs. California’s marijuana market is already the largest cash crop in the state at an estimated $14 billion annually. Maine's is arguably very large as well. This estimate only includes the marijuana itself and not all the ancillary industries a legal pot market would bring, from accessories to fashion, from tourism to retail, and all the incredible markets for marijuana’s non-drug cousin, industrial hemp. Prop 19 creates new job and business opportunities and opens the door for industrial use of hemp.

10. To bring in much-needed tax revenue.

11. To bring fairness to workplace drug testing. Nobody gets to go to work stoned any more than they get to go to work drunk. But Prop 19 (and other measures) frees employers from the burden of disciplining, firing, or not hiring safe, productive workers for their personal use of marijuana away from the job site.
For the Latinos and African-Americans

12. To end street-level dealing of marijuana. Marijuana’s profitability and scarcity create the open-air street-corner dealing that plagues many communities. Prop 19 will reduce the cost of marijuana and provide a regulated place to buy it undercuting the street dealers.

13. To strike back at the murderous drug gangs in Mexico. Many Mexicans flee to the US as refugees from the drug gangs in their home country. Some towns see levels of violence akin to war zones.

 's picture

No. As stated in my second

No. As stated in my second comment there were a number of statements left accidentally when I transfered content from the article I linked to for reference. There was a significant section related to racist criminalization of latinos and blacks which is less relevant in Maine and more so in California where Prop. 19 is being passed.

While individuals within the party may be often guilty of embarrassing typos, Maine Green Independent Party as a whole is a party of values and stands for equality of all kinds: race, ethnicity, gender, political persuasion, religion, age, and the party has been behind the civil rights movement for the LGBT community since its inception - which is more than other particular political parties can claim.

In regards to the drug war - Marijuana is a significant cash crop for the drug cartels in Mexico. From NPR:

"As Mexico's biggest agricultural export, marijuana generates billions of dollars in revenues each year for the brutal narcotics cartels. By some estimates, it is the most profitable product for the Mexican drug gangs... Cannabis also accounts for almost half the cartels' revenues, according to an estimate from the Mexican attorney general's office."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126978142

Even if it only constituted 10 or 20% - it would put a huge dent in the revenue of the drug cartels - revenue that is used to run their other operations and purchase weapons.

 's picture

typos

For full disclosure - content from my comment is respectfully referenced from http://www.truth-out.org/nineteen-reasons-pot-should-be-legal64531. In my flurry to fit a large article in a small space I have left a few typos or neglected to delete the occasional phrase that makes little sense out of the full context. I recommend reading the full article linked above.

 's picture

abused in county jail??...noooooo

well i'd grow some more dope to make sure i got to go back and get abused some more. any bets he gets caught again???

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