Reefer madness: Prosecutors mentioned Mike Brown’s pot use 44 times in grand jury hearings
Prosecutors seeking an indictment against police officer Darren Wilson repeatedly questioned witnesses about victim Michael Brown’s marijuana usage, bringing it up 44 times in grand jury questioning, reports the St. Louis Dispatch.
One of the construction workers who spoke with Brown before the shooting told St. Louis Police investigators that part of his conversation with Brown involved “waxing,” a process that uses the sticky resin or tar that comes from marijuana and is either ingested or smoked because of its higher THC levels. According to the witness, he asked Brown if he had ever tried it, but Brown denied knowing about the procedure.
Despite the witnesses’ testimony, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kathi Alizadeh repeatedly asked other witnesses about possible waxing by Brown, with one detective admitting he wasn’t familiar with the process.
Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown when he died, confirmed the waxing conversation Brown had had with the worker, however he denied that Brown had consumed any marijuana that day.
According to a toxicology report, Brown had 12 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in his system, with the chief toxicologist for St. Louis County saying it would take a lot of marijuana to get a 300-pound person to the level.
“In a small person, say like 100 pounds, to get to 12 nanograms wouldn’t take a lot,” the toxicologist said. “A single joint could easily do that. But when you talk about a larger body mass, just like drinking alcohol, larger persons can drink more alcohol because they have the receptacle to hold it.”
Despite repeated questioning by Alizadeh, no witness — including the chief toxicologist — was able to link Brown to waxing outside of the conversation he had with the worker.
Dr. Michael Baden, a private pathologist retained by the Brown family, disputed that Brown had a large amount of THC in his body, telling jurors Brown had a “relative small amount, and how it affects somebody varies.”
“It doesn’t make people go crazy,” he said. “So toxicology, everything it has and everything it doesn’t have has significance, and in this instance, I think marijuana is significant that he smoked marijuana, but 99 out of 100 people taking marijuana aren’t going to get in a fight with a police officer over it, in my experience.”
Alizadeh then questioned Baden three times if he was a toxicologist, twice if he was a pharmacologist, twice if he has been certified as an expert in toxicology, and once if he has been certified as an expert in pharmacology.
Baden said he wasn’t a toxicologist but had expertise in interpreting toxicology reports as a medical examiner, adding that he ran a toxicology lab in New York City for five years.
Despite the lack of evidence linking Brown with waxing, prosecutors again mentioned it again on the final day of testimony, Nov. 21, while acknowledging that police had found no evidence that Brown had gotten wax from the workers.