Serious prison time possible for pot plants: Another alleged grower busted
A Pennsylvania man has been charged with growing 25 marijuana plants in Wharton State Forest — potentially facing years of jail time if convicted.
New Jersey State Park Police Detectives charged Edward Green, 66, of Feasterville, Pennsylvania with the illegal cultivation and distribution of marijuana, according to the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection. His alleged growing operation was first reported to detectives by an anonymous source in May, the DEP said.
Cultivation is a second-degree crime, and distribution is a first-degree crime. A second-degree crime can carry a penalty of five to 10 years in prison. A first-degree crime can carry a penalty of up to 20 years.
Jon Peditto — a Mays Landing man found guilty of maintaining a drug production facility after growing 17 pot plants in the Pinelands — was sentenced to eight years in prison in January.
Peditto had represented himself in the case — arguing unsuccessfully for jury nullification of the charges against him, which also included two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and one count of possession of marijuana. He’d admitted growing the plants, but said throughout his trial that they were for his own use, only occasionally selling some to friends and relatives.
Peditto earned the sympathy of several New Jersey 101.5 hosts who argued on its airwaves and on NJ1015.com last year the sentence he was likely facing for growing 17 plants was far too harsh. (New Jersey 101.5 hosts each express their own opinions, which don’t necessarily agree with one another, and which don’t necessary represent any position of the station itself).
Peditto’s girlfriend, Marilu Zahn, told New Jersey 101.5’s Bill Spadea in November, “He’s doing it for other people more than he’s doing this for himself,” echoing a statement made earlier in the same week by Peditto’s brother, Christopher, also on Spadea’s morning show. “He has no prior criminal record. He’s never done anything violent.”
The same day Peditto was convicted, he called into Dennis & Judi’s mid-day show, joined by New Jersey’s most famous pro-marijuana activist, “NJ Weedman” Ed Forchion.
“When I come home from work, instead of drinking alcohol, I smoke a joint, and that’s it,’ he said.
Both Dennis and Judi said they thought the sentence Peditto was facing — which could have been for up to 36 years — was “ridiculous.” They said they’d rather see marijuana made legal than distributed on a black market.
In Green's case, State Park Police detectives were able to locate the illegal grow and monitor it until July 20, when Green was arrested, the DEP said.
"We had a good idea of Green's actions throughout our investigation," State Park Police Detective Brian Calloway, said in the message from the DEP. "We are sending a clear message to anyone out there, to think again before using protected NJ State Lands for illicit activity."
NJ State Police Detectives and the Army National Guard assisted with the investigation, the DEP said.
More from New Jersey 101.5: