We've been following the conviction of South Jersey marijuana grower Jon Peditto closely, and today we were joined by his girlfriend Marilu Zahn, who gave us an update on his status.

Jailed with a 20-year sentence for growing 17 pot plants, Peditto remains an advocate for marijuana.

According to Zahn, who has been with Peditto for the last 14 years, Peditto believes he is doing the right thing by not taking a plea deal.

"He’s doing it for other people more than he’s doing this for himself," Zahn said, echoing a statement made earlier this week by Peditto's brother, Christopher. "He has no prior criminal record. He's never done anything violent."

However, Zahn pointed out that Peditto's sentence is twice as long as some violent offenders in his prison. "The inmates think it’s a joke that he’s in there," she told us early in the interview.

"The reason he decided to go to a jury trial is because that was how alcohol prohibition was lifted,” Zahn later said.

In the end, we agreed that jury’s have more power than people think, but not when a judge has the power to select who sits in that group.

According to Zahn, the only way Peditto will be freed is if the populous stands up and voices their support for his cause. Earlier this week Christopher Peditto told us one way to do this is by supporting the Jon Peditto Defense fund, which will help provide a "top-notch appellate attorney" to defend Jon.

Be on the lookout for more details on this case as we keep in touch with Marilu Zahn and attempt to speak with Jon Peditto directly.

And feel free to tell me what you think of Peditto's story by tweeting @nj1015 and @BillSpadea or commenting 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.