Student skirts jail time for marijuana charge

A student arrested in November for intent to distribute marijuana out of his JBKO room pled out to a lower charge of possession at a hearing Wednesday.

The plea bargain between sophomore Soweto Edwards and the D.C. Office of the Attorney General called for six months of probation, a $200 donation to a charity and 20 hours of community service.

Edwards, who was arrested Nov. 10 for possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, had nearly a half-pound of the drug, a digital scale and $1,350 in cash in his JBKO room, according to court documents.

At the hearing before the D.C. Superior Court, Edwards’ attorney told Judge Jeanette Clark that the student intends to transfer to a university in New York to be closer to his family.

“There was never an intent to distribute,” Edwards said as he left the courtroom from his Dec. 4 status hearing. At that hearing his lawyer, Martha Dickey, requested a continuance and to reschedule his next status hearing on Dec. 21 so he could be with his family during winter break.

MPD Officer Kenneth Bryson of the Public Information Office said most cases of possession with the intent to distribute are charged as felonies unless the accused can make a case that the amount was for personal use. He added that plea bargains often result in the reduction of charges.

“Sometimes – depending on how the District process goes – people plead out and get the sentence reduced to a misdemeanor,” he said.

Greg Hersh, president of GW’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that no matter what happens to the student, their punishment does not fit their crime. NORML is a national lobbying organization that works to loosen laws for marijuana use.

“I mean, these kids are not the only drug dealers at GW,” Hersh, a junior, said. “A GW junior that goes out and buys a bottle of vodka for a freshman is more damaging.”

-Kaitlyn Jahrling and Cassandra Many

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.