A San Francisco man was acquitted of felony marijuana charges Thursday, according to a spokeswoman with the Public Defender's Office.
Stetson Qualls Jones, 24, was found not guilty of possession of marijuana for sale and sale of marijuana, spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said in a statement.
Qualls Jones was arrested Feb. 5 while he was hanging out with friends at Golden Gate Park's Hippie Hill, Barak Aparton said. A man, who turned out to be an undercover police officer, approached the group and asked Qualls Jones if he could buy some pot.
Qualls Jones testified in court that he told the man he didn't sell pot, Barak Aparton said, but the man seemed to Qualls Jones stressed and agitated so he reached into his own personal stash and pinched off a small amount of pot and gave it to the man.
The undercover officer reportedly offered $20 for the pot and Qualls Jones said he refused the money.
Qualls Jones was then surrounded by five to six police officers and arrested. He was found to be in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Police testified in court that they found $20 under Qualls Jones' blanket.
During the course of the trial, it became apparent that a lot of resources went into this seemingly insignificant sting. Qualls Jones' defender, Ariel Boyce-Smith, got the officers to admit they were on overtime and that the police department receives grants for these types of operations.
This encouraged Boyce-Smith to repeat a rhyme throughout the course of the trial, "He didn't accept a dime, they made up this crime, while they were getting paid overtime."
Qualls Jones was found guilty of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and fined $25, Barak Aparton said.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the defendant never posed a risk to the public and that the resources that went into his arrest were a waste.
"A tremendous amount of city resources were wasted in a manufactured case against a man who was minding his own business," Adachi said. "San Franciscans have been very clear about marijuana enforcement and I am not surprised the jury rejected this case."