(Dec. 6, 2019) The District Court for Worcester County found probable cause during a preliminary hearing on Wednesday for Jacob Dylan Forrester, 20, of Ocean City, who was accused of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute — a felony in the state of Maryland.
The case will go to the Circuit Court for Worcester County in Snow Hill.
Under questioning by Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Farlow, Ocean City Police Cpl. Joseph Lotito, who arrested Forrester the night of Oct. 29, testified that he had seen a mason jar filled marijuana and a marijuana grinder through an open window at the defendant’s residence
After obtaining a search and seizure warrant, Lotito continued, he and other officers discovered that one of three bedrooms had been converted into a marijuana cultivation room.
He said there were large marijuana plants, approximately three to four feet tall, wires hung across the room to dry the plants, trash bags filled with marijuana and plant clippings all over the floor.
The defendant’s attorney, Paul Abu-Zaid, asked Lotito whether the plants were tested for THC concentrations, to which Lotito responded they were not.
Federal legislation passed last year, known as the 2018 Farm Bill, allows the possession and sale of hemp-derived CBD (cannabidiol) products with THC levels under 0.3 percent.
Any hemp plant with more than 0.3 percent THC is legally considered to be marijuana.
Presumably, Abu-Zaid was making the argument that because Lotito had not done the test, he could not have determined whether the hemp plants were actually marijuana.
Despite Abu-Zaid’s argument, probable cause was found for a circuit court trial, where Forrester could face up to five years in prison if convicted.