Now that over half the country has voted to legalize medical marijuana and another half-dozen could do the same this coming November, isn’t it time to start discussing why non-violent marijuana busts still account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States?
Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests made between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent were for simply possessing pot, according to the ACLU, and not large amounts. Those figures haven’t changed much in the past decade.
It begs the question: why are nonviolent pot offenders still behind bars in the four states where recreational weed is totally legal?
We all know the answer—the failed War on Drugs.
Taxpayers are spending over $1 billion annually to incarcerate pot offenders, about 44 percent of whom had no or minimal criminal histories prior to their convictions, and over a third are over the age of 40, according to a NORML report.
Stephen Downing, former LA Deputy Police Chief, wrote in the Huffington Post that, back in the day, cops only locked up real criminals. “Rapists. Murderers. Bank robbers. Prison was a place for bad guys. These senseless laws that over-criminalize drug use were passed in haste amid a climate of fear and benefit no one.”
In addition to pardoning inmates incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses, it is also important to give them the means and opportunity to clear their criminal records. A pot conviction follows one for life and affects just about everything one needs or might want to do—like buy a house, get a job or get a loan. The list is long.
This is where California’s Prop 64 could set a national precedent.
A critical section of Proposition 64 reads “individuals serving sentences for activities that are made legal or are subject to lesser penalties under the measure would be eligible for resentencing.”
It also states that, “individuals who have completed sentences for crimes that are reduced by the measure could apply to the courts to have their criminal records changed.”
This segment California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act is huge and needs to be replicated across the land for the sake of the hundreds of thousands languishing in prisons for a crime that is no longer a crime.
The contradiction is unacceptable.
Study Finds Legal Cannabis Reduces Illicit Grows in National Forests
Someone Planted 34 Cannabis Plants in the Vermont Statehouse Flower Beds
New Bill Ensures Some Retroactive Drug War Justice for New Hampshire
Recreational Cannabis Comes to Northern Nights Music Festival
House Votes to Protect States With Legal Marijuana From Feds
Two Plead Guilty to Using United States Postal Service to Traffic Marijuana
Honoring the Legend: Jack Herer
Raid of Massive Illegal Cannabis Grow Site in California Took Four Days to Complete
News5 days ago
What Was Said at Today’s Congressional Hearing on Federal Marijuana Law Reform
Health5 days ago
The Pechoti Method: Can You Put Weed in Your Belly Button?
News6 days ago
New Subscription Service Ships Concentrates Directly to Consumers
Entertainment6 days ago
Jay-Z Announces Partnership With Top Cannabis Company Caliva
News3 days ago
Coast Guard Busts Submarine Carrying Over $500 Million Worth of Cocaine, Weed
News3 days ago
Florida Court Rules Medical Marijuana Licensing Law Unconstitutional
Health4 days ago
Cannabis and Mental Health: Schizophrenia
News5 days ago
Hawaii Officially Decriminalizes Small Quantities of Cannabis