Admitting he made a poor decision and outlining his cooperation with authorities, a former Fort Hays State University professor entered a no contest plea Thursday morning to a charge of selling a marijuana edible.
Bryan Bennett, a former assistant professor of political science, was placed on 18 months probation in Ellis County District Court for a felony charge of possession with intent to distribute a hallucinogenic drug. Felony charges of distribution of hallucinogenic drugs with within 1,000 feet of a school, use of a communication facility to distribute a controlled substance and use of a communication facility in conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance were dropped in the plea deal.
The probation has an underlying sentence of 15 months in prison.
Bennett, who has a law degree, told Ellis County District Court Judge Glenn Braun that after his Dec. 6 arrest, he cooperated with law enforcement, including surrendering his cell phone. He self-reported to Northwest Community Corrections and abided by all the conditions of his bond as well as sought therapy and treatment on his own and notified FHSU and the Kansas Bar Association. He said he has not used marijuana since the arrest.
“I chose to put myself on Community Corrections with John Trembley as a show of good faith,” he said.
“I was in an unhappy place and I think that contributed to poor decision-making,” he said.
“I’m willing to admit that and accept responsibility,” he said.
Trembley, the director of NKCC, spoke of Bennett’s honesty and cooperation as well. He said Bennett tested for a high level of marijuna on intake with NKCC, but confirmed Bennett had not used the drug since. He did have one positive test while on bond, but contacted Trembley and admitted to drinking two beers.
According to the affidavit, read in court by Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees, on Dec. 5, the Hays Police Department was contacted by an informant who said she had been approached by Bennett, who offered her edible marijuana. She had recorded the conversation.
Working with HPD and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the informant called Bennet to meet on campus. He was followed from his home to campus by an investigator.
The informant later produced for investigators an envelope given to her by Bennett that contained marijuana edibles. A search warrant was obtained for Bennett’s residence, where four sealed containers totaling 14 grams of marijuana were found, along with drug paraphernalia. The containers had tags from a Colorado dispensary.
Bennett was arrested on Dec. 6. After being advised of his rights, he confessed he had given the edibles to the student.
Bennett told the judge his wife moved to Vermont in June and he has several job prospects there.