Pot-enjoying Ohio defendant agrees to quit

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- An avid marijuana user has agreed to give up his pastime to avoid a jail sentence from a judge who had been perplexed by his reluctance.

Damaine Mitchell, 19, got credit for time served of 72 days for marijuana possession, ending that case. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Melba Marsh convicted him of possession Monday after ruling him not guilty of trafficking.

Mitchell first had to pledge to stop smoking marijuana and to seek treatment. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Mitchell had told her earlier that he doubted he could stop smoking marijuana, which he'd been doing since age 10.

During the earlier appearance this month, he stunned Marsh by asking if he could at least have one more marijuana joint. She said she refused to allow one "for old time's sake."

On Monday, faced with a possible sentence of one year in prison, he told Marsh he knew he needed to "cut back on smoking marijuana."

Marsh replied: "Cut back?"

"Stop, I need to stop," Mitchell corrected himself. "I need treatment."

He agreed to treatment and will have a counselor visit him in jail, where he awaits a Dec. 6 appearance on a trespassing charge.

Marsh had received several calls about the case, including from a man in Colorado who told the judge she was persecuting Mitchell and that he was welcome to move there. Voters in Colorado and Washington this month approved marijuana legalization measures.

Mitchell appeared in court Monday wearing a white jail uniform, signifying he was working in the jail kitchen. The judge noticed that and asked: "You're not cooking, are you?"

He replied that he helps clean up, sweeping floors and wiping tables.

"I was just wondering if you were making brownies or something," Marsh said, drawing snickers in the courtroom.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

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