California’s Prop 64 Underscores Absurdity of Holding Pot Prisoners in States Where It’s Legal 

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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.

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  1. Read the damned Prop. 64! It will NOT get anyone out of prison or jail in California! It only applies to past offenses would not be offenses if Prop. 64 passes.
    So how many people in California are in prison for possessing an ounce or less? How many are in prison for growing six OR FEWER plants? Guess? NONE. The horror stories of people in prison for such small amounts r people in federal prison under federal law — and this state initiative has NO effect on them — or in other states, like Wisconsin, and again, Prop. 64 will not affect them.
    This is just one of MANY come-ons in this POS Trojan Horse. It’s four times as long as the earlier POS out of the Soros stable, and ten times more convoluted.
    Read it with a pro-cannabis, pro-individual liberty attorney at your shoulder and you’ll do what the California Libertarian Party’s Executive Committee unanimously suggested its nine members read this same analysis: Vote NO on Prop. 64.
    http://marian0280.wix.com/4pepper
    Are the 62 pages too long? It took me, a retired attorney for the State of California, 36 hours to read it and all the LAWS it incorporates by reference! It’s a trap! Just skim and concentrate on the red font critiquing this POS.

    1. Oh, boo-hoo. The initiative is long. – Actually, that fits in California where regulations run deep. Don’t like it. Move to another state. — You are obviously just another Greedy Seller Against Legalization (GSAL). – You don’t care about the freedom of your “precious” customers. You only care about protecting your outrageously high prices and quasi-monopoly.

      Sorry, some of us fell for your BS in 2010 with Prop 19, but that’s not happening again. – Marijuana reform was never about the growers and sellers. – It’s about ending the vicious, fraudulent war on millions of marijuana consumers – period.

      Prop 64 does that. – It is similar to the legalization in the four Free States (Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska). It is better in some ways. — Quit trying to fool consumers into voting against their own freedom.

      One legal ounce changes everything! — Yes on Prop 64!

      1. Not very persuasive, kiddo. All you Soros-funded trolls r using the same pat phrases like “greedy growers.” Get some new material.
        Plus, it’s going to be harder to sell these lies about “freedom” now that news about how BAD things r in Washington and CO is leaking out past the happy propaganda.
        For example, in WA, patients have a “right to grow,” BUT cannot legally possess a single seed or clone; only LPs, Licensed Producers, may possess them. So the snookered citizens circulated a petition to change this, and some official introduced a bill, but it’s languishing in a committee somewhere.
        And how about the soaring arrest rates for minority youth in post CO and WA post-“legal-lies-ation” a la AUMA? And in CA, how about that POS Prop. 64’s $100 fine that equals $500 when standard court costs are tacked on just like with traffic tickets? For using marijuana in any public place or IN YOUR OWN HOME IF ANYONE CAN SMELL IT. Condominium living never looked so problematic!
        Yum, yum, sure smells like legal-lies-action to me!

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