This morning, Christopher Peditto called in to give us an update on his brother, South Jersey's Jon Peditto, who faces 20 years in prison because he was caught growing marijuana behind his apartment complex. 

I’ve never been a supporter of drug legalization, but this story has changed my mind. Jon Peditto could serve up to 20 years in prison for growing marijuana? It's outrageous that someone could spend that much time behind bars for the personal use of marijuana.

The state dubbed Peditto's 17-plant-patch a drug distribution operation, although Jon said he was growing pot for personal use. However, many people are probably wondering about whether Peditto was aware of the legal issues behind his gardening.

“Jon was very innocent — ignorant, you might say — in some ways about laws and the severity of laws. But after his arrest he was stunned to learn how draconian and severe- and the marijuana was a Schedule I substance, above PCP, Crystal Meth and Cocaine," Christopher Peditto said.

According to Christopher Peditto, Jon is passionate about marijuana and would share his love for the plant with a few friends. He never felt it was a dangerous drug, and now he's being treated as a violent offender, despite never harming anyone.

"He could’ve copped a plea, he could’ve paid his time like 99 percent of other people faced with this would’ve done," Christopher said of Jon's court battle. "Instead he really rolled the dice and put himself on the line not for not just himself, but for other people whom he feels should not be, for these nonviolent offenses, incarcerated."

Christopher explained that his family has started a defense fund to support Jon's legal battle. All donations will go to a "topnotch appellate attorney" to help Jon fight his case for marijuana and have the charges against him dropped.

 What about you? Tweet your thoughts to @nj1015 and @BillSpadea or comment below.

Bill Spadea is host of the Chasing News TV program. He periodically fills in for NJ 101.5 show hosts, and you can daily hear his opinion about all things New Jersey here, or by tweeting @BillSpadea.