By CHRISTINE L. PRATTStaff Writer
MILLERSBURG — A Holmes County judge sentenced a Big Prairie man to local jail time, expressing skepticism that he was growing marijuana exclusively for his own use and stressing the need to find a legal avenue to pain relief.
After attempts to suppress evidence in his case were unsuccessful, Charles M. Bucher Sr., 62, 13027 Township Road 511, pleaded guilty in Holmes County Common Pleas Court to illegal cultivation of marijuana and possession of hashish. In exchange for his April guilty plea, the state dismissed a related charge of illegal manufacture of drugs.
The state also agreed to dismiss a firearms specification to the possession charge, which would have added an additional mandatory year in prison to the potential penalty.
Bucher told Judge Robert Rinfret marijuana has provided the best relief, with the least side effects, to treat lower back problems that make it difficult to sit or stand for long periods of time.
Despite the large quantities found at his home, he reasserted the drugs were just for his personal use and expected to last him two full years.
“I understand what you’re saying. Our country is progressing to where we’re legalizing it. But, at this point, Ohio has passed medical marijuana, but there are no dispensaries. You had a large quantity. In my mind, it was more than you needed for yourself,” said Rinfret, urging Bucher to explore legal pain management options.
The quantity, combined with the presence of hash, he said, “bothers me a lot.”
Additionally, Rinfret said, he was troubled by the fact Bucher tested positive for drugs for which he had no current prescription, while awaiting sentencing.
“I don’t think prison is proper for you, but there have to be consequences for what you did. I just can’t look the other