By Kimball Perry, The Cincinnati Enquirer
CINCINNATI -- Judge Melba Marsh admitted the request shocked her.
Damaine Mitchell, 19, of Westwood, Ohio, was before her Wednesday charged with trafficking in marijuana, a crime that carries a maximum prison sentence of 1 1/2 years. He is accused of selling marijuana June 12 in a parking lot.
The Hamilton County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court judge stressed to Mitchell that she was willing to work with him - offering him a treatment program that, if successful, would not only prevent him from going to jail but also erase the crime from his record. All he had to do was give up smoking pot.
"That's going to be hard for me to do, to be honest with you," Mitchell told the judge.
She told him he would have to stop smoking marijuana for months, maybe until April, and she would drug test him to make sure he was living up to his end of the deal.
Mitchell replied very honestly.
"That's going to be a challenge," Mitchell told the judge. "I like smoking weed. I have been smoking weed since I was, like, 10 years old."
Marsh then started listing potential deadlines for him to stop smoking pot. Easter? Mitchell couldn't do it. Valentine's Day? "I won't want to," Mitchell told her.
New Year's Day? Christmas? Thanksgiving? "If I put my mind to it I can, (but) I won't want to," he said.
Then Mitchell made the unusual request. He'd be willing to try to quit - if she would approve of what amounted to government-sanctioned drug use.
"I know this is probably not the right question to ask, (but) can I get a little time at least (to) get one more joint in?" he asked the judge.
The judge refused.
"No. You can't have one more joint for old time's sake," she said.
Marsh ordered him to return to her court Monday, after he has a trespassing charge in another court dealt with, before she determines how she will handle his case.
"That's the first time I've ever had a request for marijuana while they're serving time in jail," an astonished Marsh said.