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Christie Case Resolved

After more than three years in jail awaiting a trial date, Roger Christie, the so-called “marijuana pastor” has given up. Late last month, Christie pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in marijuana and two tax charges.

Christie’s story first appeared here in May. At the time, it looked like he would keep holding out with the idea that, eventually, the marijuana laws in Hawaii would be changed, and he would have the charges dropped. Christie was charged for what he said was religious use of cannabis, and what federal authorities say was a cover for blatant marijuana sales. The advantage, for Christie of delaying a trial was that he would receive better treatment and any time he served would be taken off his final sentence. Before a verdict is rendered, even those in custody are considered innocent.

During his incarceration, Christie often posted comments to his website, The Last Marijuana Trial and was able to raise money to help pay for his defense. Christie’s wife was also charged, although she remained out of jail.

Now that he’s pleaded guilty, sentencing will follow and is scheduled for November. His lawyer predicts a short sentence, according to the Star-Advertiser. “Christie's lawyer, Thomas Otake, said his client will likely receive a five-year sentence and will only have to serve only six more months behind bars because he will be credited for the time he spent behind bars awaiting trial and because of the way federal authorities calculate prison sentences, Otake said.”

In the end, it looks like Christie was pretty savvy. He stayed in jail, but used the system to his benefit by avoiding a trial until he was ready to plea bargain. And he’ll end up serving a reasonably short time after conviction. Whether or not he will return to his marijuana ministry is unknown. If he moves to Colorado, he might even be able to do it legally.

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