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Demonstrators protest pot charges

Protesters object to charges against Todd Stimson of Fletcher. Protesters object to charges against Todd Stimson of Fletcher.

Demonstrating on behalf of a Fletcher man standing trial on felony charges of manufacturing marijuana, protesters at the Henderson County Courthouse on Grove Street waved signs calling for legalized marijuana and an end to "prohibition."

Members of the Blue Ridge Liberty Project and other supporters from Hendersonville and Asheville organized the protest on Monday morning to draw attention to what they describe as a heavy-handed raid on Todd Stimson's home in July 2013. He faces felony charges of possession of marijuana, possession with intent and sell and distribute marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.
"He's got plenty of charges," said Sean Boyce, a member of the Blue Ridge Liberty Project. "He's facing 10 to 20 years."
Stimson has been active in efforts to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The owner of Blue Ridge Medical Cannabis Research Corporation, he marched from Asheville to Raleigh last month to draw attention to the cause.
"I had third stage inoperable lung cancer," said one of the protesters, James "Ziggy" McLemore, who was sitting on the grass at the corner of Grove and Third Avenue. "He started supplying me with medicine and when they pronounced me in remission, my doctor said he had never seen anyone take the amount of chemo and radiation I took and gain 20 pounds.
McLemore consumed marijuana by "eating and juicing," he said. "It's not about getting high. I never felt better in my life than when I was eating and juicing it. I was able to come off of oxygen for four straight months while juicing the plant. I'm in remission. I have another year and a half before I'm considered cancer-free but I've been in remission for 3½ years."
Some drivers honked their horns as they passed the gathering of 13 protesters, who waved signs saying "The Times They Are a'changing: Legalize Canabis," "Support Free Markets End Prohibition" and "No Victim No Crime."