The co-founder of one of central Ohio’s largest organic farms and a leader in the farm-to-table movement here lowered his head in court yesterday and told a judge that he had damaged his reputation and hurt the causes he loves by growing hundreds of marijuana plants in Union County.
“I gave up a lot of the good I’ve done,” said Adam Welly, co-founder of Wayward Seed Farm.
Welly, 33, will spend five years on probation for growing the pot, Union County Common Pleas Judge Don Fraser ruled. Welly could also serve jail time if he does not fulfill the terms of his probation.
But Welly will get to keep his land. Prosecutors had threatened to seize the 5-acre property at 14950 Fladt Rd., where investigators found the plants, but agreed to let Welly keep the land as long as he pays a $10,000 fine.
Welly said he did not want to talk to a reporter after the hearing.
He co-founded Wayward Seed Farm in 2006 and helped cultivate it from a 1-acre project in Sandusky County to one of the region’s largest farm-to-table companies. Wayward Seed supplies food to restaurants throughout central Ohio. It also has a community-supported agriculture program that allows people to buy shares in the farm in exchange for weekly distributions of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Authorities raided the Union County farm last summer after investigators got a tip that Welly was growing marijuana there.
Deputies found 565 marijuana plants, some processed pot and two shotguns.
Welly’s partner at Wayward Seed, Jaime Moore, told investigators that she had no idea Welly had been growing marijuana. Welly and Moore co-own the property. Investigators and prosecutors have cleared her of any wrongdoing.
Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton said at the time that if the plants had grown to maturity, they would have produced marijuana that would have sold for about $560,000 on the street.
Michael Probst, Welly’s attorney, said Welly grew the plants hoping to make some money.
“He was down on hard times, struggling,” Probst said. “He just simply decided he would try to have financial gain from illegal activity.”
By Laura Arenschield - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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