Former Metal Church bassist Stephen Wesley Ungerbuehler (Unger) has been convicted for growing marijuana, yet his conviction is being viewed as a victory. The one count of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance is nowhere near as serious as the two other charges he could have been convicted on – leading organized crime and money laundering. As the Seattle News Tribune reports, If he’d been convicted for leading organized crime, he might’ve gone away for five years. Instead, he might face a maximum of 90 days in jail, but may get as little as no time, since he had no prior criminal record.
Ungerbuehler and his attorney claimed that he was growing the marijuana for a friend that had cancer to use medicinally. Which is pretty much an advanced version of ‘that’s not mine, someone gave it to me to hold.’ While on the stand however, he admitted that he’d grown more than 15 plants, which was the maximum amount that licensed growers can grow. Deputy prosecutor Karen Platt had argued that he was the leader of a pot-growing enterprise that made money that he laundered through his bank accounts. They’d also wanted him jailed until sentencing, but the Judge denied the request.
The real story here is that this was a three week trial over marijuana possession. We’re a) not residents of Seattle or Tacoma and b) don’t really know how much weed Ungerbuehler had on him, but there’s got to be a better way to spend taxpayer dollars than having a three week trial over pot possession. Unger was in Metal Church from 2004-2009 and played on 2004’s The Weight of the World, 2006’s A Light In the Dark and 2008’s This Present Wasteland.