Missoula marijuana ‘mutiny’ mushrooms

By GWEN FLORIO Missoulian helenair.com

MISSOULA — Call it the Pot Shot Heard ‘Round the World.

Oh, wait. Somebody already did that.

The Examiner online news site — one of many news organizations that picked up on the story of a Missoula jury pool that dug in its heels last month at the prospect of trying a case involving “a couple of buds” of marijuana — put a variation of that headline on its story.

Others likewise had fun with it. “The Great Montana Marijuana Mutiny,” the Wall Street Journal’s legal blog termed it.

“Where There’s Smoke, There’s Change,” pronounced the Toronto Star.

And Huffington Post declared in a possible first that “Sanity Broke Out in Missoula, Montana, Today.”

Headline hijinks aside, the jury pool’s action — and the reaction to it — has serious ramifications for continued prosecution of low-level nonviolent drug crimes, not just in Missoula County but around the country.

“It was almost like a slap in the face to the system,” said John Zeimet, of the moment on Dec. 16 when he watched his fellow prospective jurors, one after another, tell Missoula County District Judge Dusty Deschamps that not only were they disinclined to convict, but wondered aloud why taxpayer money was being wasted on the case.

“The people stood up and spoke out.”

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