Pubdate: Thu, 12 Feb 2004
Source: Alexander City Outlook, The (AL)
Copyright: 2004 The Alexander City Outlook
Author: Stepanie Rebman
Cited: Alabama Marijuana Party


Loretta Nall, Alexander City resident and founder of the Alabama
Marijuana Party, was convicted on Tuesday for possession of marijuana
and drug paraphernalia charges.

Tallapoosa County District Judge Kim Taylor sentenced Nall to a 30-day
suspended sentence over 12 months and a year of unsupervised
probation. Nall has already appealed the conviction and her case could
be heard by a jury trial in an upcoming court session.

Nall's conviction stems from the November 2002 raid of her Pearson
Chapel Road home by the Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force where
Taylor said they found marijuana seeds, a scale and rolling paper.

"They did find marijuana in her residence," he said. "They found
scales in the house, which qualifies as drug paraphernalia, and
rolling paper consistent with the roaches they found."

Nall said her home was searched immediately after she wrote a letter
that was published in the Birmingham News regarding drug law reform.
She said she hopes her appeal of the conviction will show how she is a
victim and not an offender.

"The Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force wants to shut down free
and public debate about our state's current drug policy so they can
protect their cash count," she said. "I'm hoping for absolute
acquittal in this case. I hope I get an elected officer who shows some
brains and shows how the warrant was faulty and everything was

Taylor said he signed the warrant to search her home after an officer
received information linking marijuana to Nall's home.

"Her daughter had leaves at school for a project and stated that she
had other leaves she wanted to bring but her mother said those leaves
are illegal," Taylor said.

Nall said that information is merely a claim made by an officer and
testimony at her trial revealed the police did not have their stories
straight. She said the testimony from narcotics officers was inaccurate.

"They claimed they found five grams or $20 worth," she said. "In
court, they had a couple of seeds, a stem and dust, which was only
0.87 grams, not even one gram. In court, they contradicted a great
deal of testimony."

Taylor said Nall received 30 days on both charges suspended over 12
months and has a $250 fine. He did not sentence her to any jail time
or fines on paraphernalia charges.

However, with the appeal, if a jury finds Nall guilty, she could face
up to 12 months in jail. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake