Tim Wilson, a 25-year-old chemical engineering student at the Colorado School of Mines who has been jailed in Japan since August 2011 has received a suspended sentence from a Japanese court and is returning to the United States, Wilson's parents told 9News.
Wilson was facing up to 10 years in Japanese prison because a friend sent him a care package with marijuana-infused treats, The Denver Post reported in 2011.
According to 9News, Wilson, a registered medical marijuana patient, was attending Tohuku University in Sendai, Japan as an exchange student and volunteering with the country's earthquake relief efforts when he was arrested in August. The three pot-infused peanut butter cookies and four "Cheeba Chews" that Wilson's friend sent never arrived at Wilson's doorstep, instead Japanese officials seized the packaged in June and started an investigation that ended with Wilson's arrest on Aug. 3.
Unfortunately for Wilson, Japan's drug laws are some of the strictest in the world. According to the U.S. Department of State website:
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illgal drugs, including marijuana, are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines. In most drug cases, suspects are detained and barred from receiving visitors or corresponding with anyone other than a lawyer or a U.S. consular officer until after indictment. Solitary confinement is common.
Japanese authorities had arrested Wilson based on the assumption that he requested the pot-infused items -- an assumption that Wilson has adamantly denied. However, Westword reports that Japanese officials point to an email where Wilson allegedly says it "would be a good idea" to send the marijuana snacks overseas. Wilson's trial was delayed three times in 2011 and it remains unclear what this suspended sentence means for Wilson in the long term.