Disabled Veteran Sentenced to Prison Time in Alabama for Legally-Obtained Cannabis

Sean Worsley was initially stopped by the police for playing his music too loudly.
Disabled Veteran Sentenced To Prison Time In Alabama For Legally-Obtained Cannabis
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At a time when America is trying to right its wrongs when it comes to the treatment of people of color and the war on drugs over the past few centuries, a Black, disabled veteran is still being held in prison on minor cannabis charges.

Sean Worsley, an Iraq veteran who suffers from a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, uses medical cannabis for his pain and anxiety. He legally purchased the medicine in his home state of Arizona before his arrest. 

Worsley and his wife, Eboni, were arrested in Pickens County, Alabama, where cannabis is still not legal, back in August 2016. This took place when the couple stopped at a gas station and were approached by police officers for listening to music “too loudly”. The police then proceeded to search the vehicle where they found Worsley’s medical cannabis. 

“I explained to him that Alabama did not have medical marijuana. I then placed the suspect in handcuffs,” the arresting officers stated in an official report. 

In addition to the cannabis, the officers found some unopened alcohol and prescribed pills—all legal. However, the pills were not in their original bottle, which the officers claimed was a felony. The Worsleys spent six days in jail and then faced even more criminal proceedings. 

The couple, originally from Arizona, then moved to Nevada, but they got a call a year after the incident explaining that bail bonds were revoked on their case and they had to go back to Alabama or be charged with failing to appear in court. Worsley, who is reportedly not able to make informed decisions on his own due to his disability, was convinced that he had to sign a plea agreement…or he and his wife would face jail time. 

Worsley was then sentenced to 60 months in prison. 

Alabama, Prison, And Cannabis

There are currently only about 60 or 70 people in the Alabama prison system for cannabis, and those are usually more serious trafficking charges. Because of this, many people are beginning to speak out in Worsley’s defense. 

“They got arrested for a whole truckload, semi-truckloads even, for trafficking,” State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster claims of the other people currently serving time in prison. 

In a letter to Alabama Appleseed, written as he serves time in the Pickens County jail, Worsley expressed how upset he is being away from his wife and children, and how humiliated he is having to call them from prison. 

“I feel like I’m being thrown away by a country I went and served for,” Worsley wrote in a letter to Alabama Appleseed. “I feel like I lost parts of me in Iraq, parts of my spirit and soul that I can’t ever get back.”

This is clearly not the first (or last) cannabis charge involving a Black man or veteran that needs to be addressed, but the fact that it is now gaining more public attention may help lessen Worsley’s sentence and bring awareness to the issue of the intersection between racial justice and cannabis justice.

10 comments
  1. Had the writer not made this a racial issue I would have posted this on my FB and Veteran sites as I too have a service disability for traumatic brain injury and PTSD!

  2. The same Sam Crow laws corrupt politicians make to ruin good peoples lives that we should demand those laws be purged along with the Judges and others who believe in them from power! They’re no excuse when the laws against marijuana was made to target mostly minorities who’d used it medically before their was such a thing as the USA. The lies can and will be defeated!

  3. It’s a racial issue BECAUSE it’s highly unlikely he would have served any time at all if he were not black. You are choosing not to support this man’s situation because of his race. Rascism is real whether or not you choose to acknowledge it.

  4. I think EVERY police officer should have to spend a mandatory 30 to 60 days in jail as part of the academy training to gain some true understanding of how terrible it is to have one’s freedom and rights taken away and b put in a cage like an animal. So disgusting that a man goes to serve this country, in doing so has his mind completely and forever altered because of what he has seen and probably HAD to do; then, as he is trying to get back to living some semblance of his life, is ultimately put in PRISON for years over some pot. But, if he had instead just joined in the riots and looting that has been taking place, he could have taken all his frustrations out on some innocent citizen and beat him/her to death and probably faced no repercussions. I’m missing something here.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, MR. WORSLEY. I HOPE KARMA SMILES ON YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SOON, SIR. AND THAT SHE IS TRULY VICIOUS IN HER REPAYMENT TO YOUR OPPRESSORS!!

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