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Man turns self in for possession of marijuana

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Timothy Gyves

Alan Gordon sits with his marijuana plants on Thursday before turning himself in at the district justice's office, 1524 W. College Ave. Gordon said he believes that the medical benefits of smoking marijuana outweight the fact that the substance is illegal.

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Alan Gordon stood in the parking lot of the District Court 49-02-1 building on Thursday afternoon, carrying a binder full of press clips, a tightly crammed backpack and a box of Marlboro reds.

But it was the small cardboard box full of marijuana plants and seedlings that drew the most attention.

"This is my marijuana, and my medicine," Gordon, a former University student, said to a group of five supporters.

Shortly after saying this, Gordon, 27, walked into the office of the district justice, 1524 W. College Ave., to voluntarily turn himself in, following a misdemeanor arrest Wednesday for marijuana possession by the State College Police Department.

Though he was originally released on intensive supervised bail, he missed his original bail hearing, scheduled for Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the office of District Justice Bradley P. Lunsford said.

He was later arrested by the Ferguson Township Police Department and charged with both drug and drug paraphernalia possession, Ferguson Township police said. He was then placed in Centre County Prison with bail set at $1,500, by District Justice Lunsford, Ferguson Township police said.

"If I'm going to be arrested, I'm going to do it on my own terms," he said. "I am compelled to protect my own immune system."

Gordon said he grows and uses the marijuana to prevent his body from harmful effects of UV-B radioactive rays. The THC in the drug counteracts the negative effects the rays have on the immune system, he said.

He said the "justification clause" of the criminal code protects him legally, since he is using the drug to protect his body from harm.

"I'm of the belief that it is legal for me to use, grow and sell marijuana in all 50 states," he said. "And I will use the justification defense in a court of law."

Gordon has drafted a "Marijuana License," which he said should defend him and others who own it from arrest. The document sites the effects of UV-B rays and his interpretation of the justification clause as it pertains to marijuana growth and use.

He said he had been handing out the documents to students and State College residents near the corner of Allen Street and College Avenue for three weeks prior to his arrest Wednesday.

Many of the students were receptive to him, he said.

"There is a segment of the student population that is extremely supportive of what I'm doing," he said.

Some of Gordon's proponents at the rally were from the Penn State Chapter of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Ben Norman (junior-anthropology), president of the Penn State chapter, said he was there to voice his support.

"At first, I didn't know what to think about the effects of the rays and the justification clause," he said. "But I looked at all the evidence, and I think his case is pretty sound."

Gordon said he was arrested last November in Chapel Hill, N.C., on similar charges of possession. The case was eventually dismissed, he added.

Before walking into the office and turning himself in, Gordon said he had a good chance of having the new case dropped as well.

"I'm very confident that I'll be able to win in front of jury trial," he said. "I believe that I have the preponderance of the evidence as burden of proof."

"But you never know," he said. "I may wind up in front of very conservative jury."

2 images

Timothy Gyves

Alan Gordon sits with his marijuana plants on Thursday before turning himself in at the district justice's office, 1524 W. College Ave. Gordon said he believes that the medical benefits of smoking marijuana outweight the fact that the substance is illegal.

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