When Arlin Troutt was sentenced in February 1996 for a marijuana-selling conspiracy, a crowd of supporters came to the Minneapolis federal courtroom to cheer him on.
The Arizona resident and former frontman for a line of hempwear affiliated with country singer Willie Nelson had been convicted of conspiring to transport and sell about 250 pounds of marijuana. Then 46, Troutt railed against the government’s anti-marijuana policies to the judge, extolling the plant’s value as “food, fuel, fiber, and medicine.”
His lawyer told the press the speech probably added 19 months to Troutt’s sentence of eight years, one month. Troutt, now 64 and living in Gold Canyon, is still fighting the Man in the name of cannabis. He vows to appeal an administrative law judge’s August 12 ruling that upholds a state rule prohibiting medical-marijuana patients from growing marijuana within 25 miles of a dispensary.