FARMINGTON, MO — An eastern Missouri brother and sister have been sentenced to a combined 37 years in prison for growing 12 pot plants and eight seedlings.
On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte sentenced 24-year-old David DePriest to 22 years in prison, and his 36-year-old sister, Natalie DePriest, received a 15-year sentence.
Prosecutors sought the harsh sentences, saying it was a “large-scale” grow and that guns and bullet-proof vests were present in the home.
But neither the guns nor vests were illegal, and the couple wasn’t charged with a weapons enhancement.
Defense Attorney Dan Viets had asked for 5 years probation following the completion of a 120 day drug treatment program, arguing that 12 plants and eight baby sprouts in a closet are not a “large-scale” operation. The judge said “no.”
During the sentencing, Viets began to talk about the latest polls showing that the majority of Americans are now in favor of legalizing marijuana, but Judge Pratte interrupted, saying “the law is the law.”
Viets is the chairman of Show Me Cannabis and the state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
David and Natalie DePriest were arrested in the fall of 2011.