"I believe in God. I believe it's (marijuana) a natural plant he made and I have the right to possess it."
That's what Dwain C. Perry, 38, of 2425 Alpha Road, Greenwich, said during his sentencing hearing Thursday in Huron County Common Pleas Court.
Perry also told Judge Jim Conway that when an officer found a marijuana roach during a traffic stop, the officer told him not to drive and smoke dope but didn't cite him. The defendant said that advice is something he has taken seriously since that incident, but admitted he enjoys using marijuana.
On Oct. 22, Perry pleaded guilty to attempted possession of marijuana, a first-degree misdemeanor. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss one felony count of trafficking in marijuana.
The defendant's conviction is for a Jan. 29 traffic stop. Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said police found 370 grams of marijuana in six bags.
Huron County Public Defender David Longo said he doesn't think Perry is involved in selling drugs, but he prefers to buy his marijuana in bulk so his supply would last a long time. Longo said it's riskier behavior than defendants who purchase one or two bags every couple of weeks.
Perry doesn't have any felony convictions. Longo said his client has never committed "a crime of dishonesty" or "any serious crime in his life."
The defendant's lengthy criminal history as an adult includes multiple drug-related misdemeanors, which only resulted in a "moderate amount of jail time," Kasper said. The prosecutor, who requested a 30-day jail sentence, said Perry needs to be punished for his behavior.
Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said aside from Perry's acknowledged use of marijuana, it's unlikely the defendant will commit another crime. He sentenced the man to 30 days in the Huron County Jail and fined him $1,000. Perry's driver's license also was suspended for six months as part of his two years of probation.
A probation violation would result in a 150-day jail term.