WASHINGTON: An AIDS sufferer and former circus performer who supplied military veterans with medical marijuana was sentenced to five years of probation in federal court on Tuesday — a punishment he said leaves him humbled and grateful.
Rick Rosio, 57, had faced 30 months to 37 months in prison as he entered a federal courtroom in Spokane, Wash., on a felony charge of growing more than 50 marijuana plants. But after his lawyer pointed out that marijuana is now legal in Washington state — and a Catholic brother, a priest, and a veterans’ advocate who hosts a local radio show wrote letters of support — Rosio walked out with probation instead.
Perhaps most amazingly, Rosio said, the prosecutor on the case told U.S. District Judge William Fremming Nielsen that he believed Rosio was altruistic and a man of his convictions.
“They could have buried me,” Rosio said. “I guess the message of this is there are times where the government is compassionate.”