A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered the man known in the District as the “Kush God” to jail after prosecutors said the man continued to sell marijuana despite being ordered by a judge to cease selling the drug as part of a plea agreement last year.
Judge Wendell P. Gardner Jr. Wednesday ordered Nicholas Cunningham to spend 60 days in jail after prosecutors say Cunningham posted videos and various messages on Twitter and Facebook boasting of continuing to sell marijuana, which was a violation of his probation.
Prosecutors said Cunningham, 31, posted the videos as early as May. In March, two months earlier, Cunningham pleaded guilty to counts of distributing marijuana.
A judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail but suspended the jail sentence, placed him on two years of probation and ordered Cunningham not to be involved in any marijuana transactions.
But Cunningham often seemed defiant, arguing that he was providing a legal service for customers, many of whom needed the drug for medicinal purposes. Less than two months after he was sentenced, Cunningham was quoted in news articles and began posting videos in which he described “continued involvement in marijuana transactions in the District of Columbia,” a prosecutor wrote in a court filing.
Cunningham’s “disregard for the court’s orders has been manifest almost immediately after he was sentenced by the court.”
Cunningham operated a fleet of luxury vehicles — painted with images of marijuana leaves — that authorities said were used to sell pot in the District. But by Cunningham’s telling, he simply gave away marijuana, or pot-infused brownies or other treats, in return for financial donations.
In various filings leading up to Wednesday’s hearing, Cunningham’s attorney argued that his client’s previous attorney misinformed him of the details of the plea deal and that Cunningham was “coerced” into accepting the agreement or risk having his vehicles confiscated by police.
Gardner rejected his arguments and ordered him to D.C. jail. Cunningham’s attorney Paul Zuckerberg declined to comment on the case.
It is legal in the District for those older than 21 to possess as much as two ounces of marijuana and to give up to an ounce to another adult. But selling any amount is illegal.
Cunningham takes his nickname from a subset of a strain of a cannabis plant often found in Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan.