The New Peaceful Pot Head Revolution: Or, Why I’m Going To Infiltrate The Democrats & Run As One Of Them

Cris Ericson

 

 

By CrisEricson2016 | Fri, February 26 2016

S.241 Vermont marijuana Bill does NOT make marijuana legal like alcoholic beverages: (1) because you can brew your own alcoholic beverage at home in Vermont, and this bill does NOT allow you to plant a seed in the ground and grow your own marijuana at home; (2) because the state government does not raid your home and count your cans of beer, but in the new Bill, S. 241, the state will raid your home and count every single seed you have, or have planted, and send you to prison if you are not one of the chosen few to pay a high price for and receive a license to commercially grow and sell marijuana.
S.241 was written for the express purpose of making the rich even richer, and sending the poor to prison for the benefit of the private-for-profit prison industry.

PUBLIC NOTICE to DEMOCRATIC PARTY in VERMONT

I live in the area of Windsor County just north of Windham County, and there are a lot of low income people who will be devastated by S. 241 proposed marijuana bill because when marijuana is legal, they will be tempted, but they can NOT afford to pay for it.

Until marijuana is legal to grow your own at home for your own personal use, without the government prying on your private property to count your plants, I will continue to campaign for legalization.
Because the Democratic Party has taken over the issue of marijuana legalization, whereas I started it in 2002, the first time I was on the ballot for Governor, I will run in the Democratic Primary this election season to off-set the injustice being brought down on low income Vermonters.

The whole current marijuana bill is intended to make a few farmers and Lounge merchants vastly wealthy, while the tax dollars will be spent hounding and stalking poor people and threatening them if they so much as plant one seed.

Did you know this is how the American Revolution began?

The King decided that one company could sell Tea, he made one company a monopoly.
So, the Settlers dressed up as Indians and dumped the Tea into Boston Harbor.
If Peter Shumlin gets his way and does the equivalent of allowing monopolies, allowing only a few businesses to farm marijuana and sell marijuana, then you are inciting a riot, you may be inciting the next Boston Tea Party, only it might be tons of marijuana dumped into Lake Champlain off the Ferry.

If I lose the Democratic Primary, I will be on the ballot for the General Election for the Marijuana Party, of course.

This is a battle of the rich against the poor, and the Democratic Party is in conspiracy with Governor Peter Shumlin to extort money from people for marijuana, rather than allowing them to plant a seed in the ground and grow their own.

Also, of course, your conspiracy with Peter Shumlin includes violating federal marijuana laws; and I might start a group to file an action directly with the Supreme Court of the United States which is allowed when a State law violates the U.S. Constitution – and I think we might have a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution guarantee of equal rights under the law: how can you possibly think it is alright for one man to profit growing marijuana, while another man may be imprisoned for the same thing?

And, in keeping with the Spirit of the American Revolution, you must know you are violating the U.S. Constitution in conspiracy with Peter Shumlin for making laws that require someone else, other than an elected official, to make rules and regulations to use the tax dollars collected;  that is clearly taxation without representation.

Cris Ericson

http://democracy.com/vermont
SOURCE LINK:  http://ibrattleboro.com/sections/politics/new-peaceful-pot-head-revolution-or-why-im-going-infiltrate-democrats-run-one-them
SB 241 VT LINK:  http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2016/S.241

Alaska Bill Takes on “Policing for Profit” via Asset Forfeiture; Closes Federal Loophole

 

 

JUNEAU, Alaska, (Feb. 24, 2016) – A bill introduced in the Alaska House would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction. The legislation also takes on federal forfeiture programs by banning prosecutors from circumventing state laws by passing cases off to the feds in most situations.

Rep. Tammie Wilson [R], Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins [D] and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux [R] introduced House Bill 317 (HB317) on Feb. 15. The legislation would reform Alaska law by requiring a criminal conviction before prosecutors could proceed with asset forfeiture. Under current law, the state can seize assets even if a person is never found guilty of a crime, or even arrested.

The bills would also require proceeds from forfeitures be deposited into the state general fund. Under current law, Alaska law enforcement agencies keep up to 70% of asset forfeiture money. This provision curbs the policing for profit motive inherent in the current law.

ADDRESSES FEDERAL PROGRAMS

HB317 also closes a loophole that allows prosecutors to bypass more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government under its Equitable Sharing forfeiture program.

“A law enforcement agency may not refer or otherwise transfer property seized under state law to a federal agency seeking the adoption of the seized property by the federal agency.

“A law enforcement agency participating in a joint investigation or taskforce with a federal agency may not transfer property to the federal government unless the court enters an order, upon petition of the prosecuting attorney, authorizing the property to be transferred. The court may enter an order authorizing a transfer to the federal government if the transfer is actually necessary for an active criminal case or criminal investigation brought by the federal government. The court may enter an order declining the transfer if the transfer would circumvent the protections provided under AS 12.36.300 – 12.36.700”

In other words the legislation does not attempt to interfere with federally initiated forfeiture, but bans state and local police from passing off their cases to federal jurisdiction in most cases. The bill would also require any equitable sharing program money obtained through allowed transfers to be deposited in the state’s general fund.

The inclusion of provisions barring state and local law enforcement agencies from passing off cases to the feds is particularly important. In several states with strict asset forfeiture laws, prosecutors have done just that. By placing the case under federal jurisdiction, law enforcement can bypass the need for a conviction under state law and collect up to 80 percent of the proceeds from forfeited assets via the federal Equitable Sharing Program.

Late last December the U.S. Department of Justice suspended the Equitable Sharing Program due to budget cuts. But as the Washington Post reported, the suspension won’t likely be permanent.

“In its letter, the DOJ hints that it may be able to restart payments later: ‘By deferring equitable sharing payments now, we preserve our ability to resume equitable sharing payments at a later date should the budget picture improve.’ The DOJ hopes to ‘reinstate sharing distributions as soon as practical and financially feasible,’ the letter concludes.”

Even with the program suspension in place for now, the prohibition from passing off cases remains an important provision.

California prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have regularly utilized this loophole. As the Tenth Amendment Center previously reported the federal government has inserted itself into the California’s asset forfeiture debate. The feds clearly want the policy to continue.

Why?

We can only guess. But perhaps the feds recognize paying state and local police agencies directly in cash for handling their enforcement would reveal their weakness. After all, the federal government would find it nearly impossible to prosecute its unconstitutional “War on Drugs” without state and local assistance. Asset forfeiture “equitable sharing” provides a pipeline the feds use to incentivize state and local police to serve as de facto arms of the federal government by funneling billions of dollars into their budgets.

Asset forfeiture laws incentivize “policing for profit” on one hand, and dubious state-federal partnerships on the other.

NEXT

HB317 was referred to the Judiciary Committee where it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving on to the full House for further consideration.

Take action to support HB317 at this link.

CONTINUE READING…

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

ALASKA ASSET FORFEITURE

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION

POSTED ON

FEBRUARY 25, 2016

Devils, Deals and the DEA

 

 

Why Chapo Guzman was the biggest winner in the DEA’s longest running drug cartel case

by David Epstein, ProPublica December 17, 2015 This story was co-published with the Atlantic.

For 14 months, the first thing Dave Herrod, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, did every morning was boot up his laptop and begin tracking a 43-foot yacht with Dock Holiday painted on the stern.

In the summer of 2005, the DEA had intercepted a conversation in which members of a Mexican drug cartel known as the Arellano Félix Organization discussed buying a yacht in California. Herrod and his colleagues studied the classified ads in yacht magazines and determined that the Dock Holiday was the boat the AFO members wanted. DEA agents then managed to get on board and install tracking devices before the sale went through. That’s when Herrod started watching the boat on his laptop.

CONTINUE READING…

From Organizing America to Operation Chronic Problem, How Cannabis Prohibition Ruins Lives

 

 

My Bust

 

Katree Darriel Saunders is a 30 year old mother, cannabis activist, and an active member of her community. Katree was living in Las Vegas, NV when she was arrested during a DEA sting called Operation Chronic Problem on the charges of: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana and hashish. For 10 grams of hashish and 3.5 grams of marijuana Katree has had her life as she knew it ended. This dedicated mother lost her family and job for trying to help. Trying to help what turned out to be a lying, conniving, scheming, weasel of a DEA Agent posing as a medical cannabis patient desperate for relief. This is Katree Darriel Saunders story. Her loss, her pain, and what many consider a major injustice as well as a violation of her constitutional rights.

Katree has been addicted off and on to prescription pain pills since the age of 15. In 2007, seeking pain relief from multiple car accidents, Katree Saunders became a medical cannabis patient. Knowing the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, plus their lack of effectiveness, Saunders chose medical cannabis. Not only did cannabis end Saunders pain, she was able to stop using prescription drugs all together. As a hardworking mother, Saunders put herself through college and became a positive and active member of her community.

Nevada’s laws prohibited the sale of cannabis in 2007, which forced Saunders to seek it through the black market, known for unsavory individuals who traffic anything from people to weapons to stolen merchandise. Once when Saunders sought cannabis from the black market she was sexually assaulted. This devastating incident convinced Saunders she had to do something. There had to be a way for her to legally and safely obtain her medication.

She contacted the state of Nevada and spoke with Jennifer Barlett, who referred her to Michael McAuliffe of Nevada’s Compassionate Care (NCC). It was there Saunders found her place. She began working with NCC and was helping others away from the black market.

Things were going well for Saunders in February of 2010. She volunteered for a political event called Organizing America where President Barack Obama spoke about healthcare reform. Saunders was chosen to be on stage. She sat in the front row behind the president as he gave his speech. Upon the close, Katree was able to shake hands with the President. While doing so, Saunders said ‘We needed to talk about medical patient’s rights.’ Then, according to Saunders, Obama looked at her and said ‘I’m not prosecuting.’

image (4)

 

Feeling confident and empowered after this Saunders then became active in helping patients obtain their medical cannabis cards from the Nevada state program. Unfortunately, while Saunders was working for NCC, she was set up by undercover DEA agents. They were conducting what was known as Operation Chronic Problem. A federal DEA agent posed as a sick patient asking for help obtaining medical cannabis.

Saunders, being a compassionate person, facilitated this lying individual’s request. Later she was indicted on distribution of a controlled substance. Saunders served four months in prison as well as a lengthy probation since she did not offer up the names of her medical patients.

While on pretrial Saunders was in another motor vehicle accident. This accident totaled her husband’s vehicle and left Saunders with a fractured foot as well as a back injury. She was placed on morphine, Xanax, and MARINOL®. The morphine began to make her heart hurt, so she opted to stop taking it in exchange for MARINOL®. MARINOL® is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring compound known as delta-9-THC. However, since Saunders was on probation, the state of Nevada told her that she could not take MARINOL® since they would not be able to determine if she was consuming cannabis or simply taking the medication.

The State of Nevada Probation Department obtained a court order preventing Saunder’s doctor from prescribing MARINOL® to her. Now, not only was Saunders in trouble for selling 3.5 grams of cannabis and 10 grams of hash, she also lost her job, family and right to medicate.

During her incarceration, her husband divorced her, took the kids and moved away. While in custody at the prison, Saunders says she was ‘sexually assaulted and harassed by US Marshals’.

During Saunders’ trial, her attorneys advised her not to mention anything about her encounter with President Obama. For the 4 months Katree Saunders was incarcerated, the state split her time between a private prison corporation (Corrections Corporation of America – CCA) and a state prison, and earned a minimum of $5,000 for hosting her. The state of Nevada spent an estimated $20,656 per inmate in 2012, and reported 267.9 million in costs. They also claimed to have 15 million dollars in prison related costs outside of the state budget. This is where states and private prison corporations make big dollars housing criminals. In the case of cannabis consumers, these corporations make out like bandits.

 

Imagine charging $21,000 a year to house someone who was busted selling or possessing cannabis. In Saunders case, that 13.5 grams of cannabis, with a street value of $150, cost taxpayers over $20,000 to put her through the system. That doesn’t include the cost of the actual arrest, which stands at $1,500 to $3,500 with booking, paperwork, police officers fees, donuts, etc.

Saunders fought hard to break away from prescription drugs, but in the end they were her only option. Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, has been making billions off victims. Purdue Pharma is involved in countless lawsuits and their officials have admitted to deceitful and immoral medical practices, yet they are still making money. These are the ones that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks out about when he refers to the top one-tenth of 1%.

In 1993 the DEA allowed pharmaceutical companies to produce 3520 kilos of a drug known as oxycodone. Twenty-two years later they are manufacturing 137.5 thousand kilos of the same drug. That is an increase of 39 times in the manufacturing of this controlled substance. Since President Nixon founded the DEA in 1973, they have done nothing but prosecute those who attempt to possess, grow, or in any way affiliate themselves with cannabis.

Medical cannabis helps millions of people across the United States and world to find relief from pain and suffering. Cannabis helped Saunders break her addiction and take back control of her life. Cannabis is a safe treatment alternative for many illnesses, as well as the management of symptoms associated with a broad array of medical complications. Prescription drug addiction, of course, is a problem that is not only plaguing the United States, but the whole world.

Saunders’ battle with a prescription drug addiction from a young age illustrates the carelessness of the medical industry in allowing doctors to over-prescribe dangerous medications. It has also enabled them to receive substantial kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies in the process.

According to ABC News, America consumes over 90% of the world’s hydrocodone and 80 percent of the planet’s opioids. The United States of America makes up only 4.6 percent of the planet’s population. This opioid problem has destroyed mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Children and soldiers suffer horrendously because of our country’s support for the pharmaceutical industry. Children suffer by being denied medication that could in fact actually help them, and at times even cure them. Children also suffer by losing parents who are consumed by prescription drug addiction. Soldiers who protect our freedom, often with their own lives, suffer from illnesses such as PTSD. They are sometimes denied a natural treatment, such as cannabis, to help with their symptoms.

The Doctors Enforcement Agency

The DEA licenses more than 600,000 surgeons, doctors, and podiatrists to administer prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers. According to NORML (National Reform of Marijuana Laws), in 2011 there were an estimated 1.5 million registered medical cannabis patients living in the United States of America. The sad side of this is that the laws pertaining to medical cannabis forced so many to seek their medication on the black market.

The public seems to believe that we think cannabis is the new cure-all, and other medications should be eliminated. This is not true. Common sense will tell you that there are many medical advancements today which have led us to the most sophisticated and advanced techniques and cures. During this evolution we have managed to de-evolve at the same time, through the abuse of prescription drugs, as much the fault of patients as it is the doctors doing the prescribing. Some individuals get prescription pain pills in large quantities because the doctors will prescribe them. Some individuals do not even take their medication. Instead they sell them on the street. When doctors prescribe as much as 100 to 300 pills at a time, with an average price of $10 a pill, some people can make an extra $3,000 a month.

Prohibition Has Failed and it’s Hurting America

The prohibition of cannabis that began in the late 1930s has devastated countless numbers of American lives and destroyed families across the country. The FDA will approve OxyContin for 6-year-olds but will not support cannabis oil. This is an absurd violation of human rights. The United States of America has held the patent for medical cannabis since 2003. This means that they knowingly have information that solidifies and validates medical cannabis as an effective treatment. This also means that the DEA and FDA know, and have evidence, that cannabis is medicine.

For the past 12 years the DEA has left cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic. This puts it in the same class as heroin and cocaine, that it has no medicinal value. They have lied to the American people kept the public sick, and now some laugh at us while the cannabis community is trying to change laws to better the world around us.

The Dogs of the Feds

The DEA regularly raids medicinal cannabis facilities and Indian tribal lands. They arrest, abuse, neglect and destroy the lives of countless cannabis consumers. Medical patients and recreational consumers alike suffer the wrath of the DEA everyday. There are no public benefits from cannabis prohibition! The medicinal aspects combined with potential taxes are unquestionably positive. The simple implementation of taxation on cannabis will help to eliminate the black market. This puts a lot of politicians, local sheriffs, and other individuals out of extra income they have enjoyed for years.

Katree Saunders felt the wrath of the DEA during Operation Chronic Pain and now you know her story. From being hooked on prescription drugs at 15, to meeting the President of the United States, to prison, to an avid cannabis activist, Saunders’ struggle is all too familiar to many Americans, except for meeting Mr. Barack Obama.

Help support America by being a seed. One seed can tip the scales of injustice. Are you that seed?

Per my friend and sister Larisa in our cannabis struggle on the passing of Ken Gorman July 12, 1946 – February 17, 2007.

 

9 years ago today, my mentor and one of the boldest and most courageous people I know, was assassinated in his home.

Yes, assassinated. Someone walked in his home and shot him in the chest, leaving his weed and money behind.

His murder is still virtually unsolved with police stating that the primary suspect is in jail on other charges.

Even more tragic is that today, most people do not know who he is, which is literally the godfather of the cannabis movement in Colorado.

He made the noise and gathered the attention to the cause that would first collect enough signatures to get Amendment 20 on the ballot through his 420 Rally,

which served as the foundation for the Denver 420 Rally today. Up until 2 years ago, I had been volunteering for the 420 Rally since 2002, my last year of

volunteering culminating with his daughter and I, along with other people he had mentored through the years, spreading his ashes around a tree by the stage.

He lives on in our passion for ensuring that liberty and reason lead the way in not only drug policy, but in all areas of our lives.

Please take a moment of silence tonight for Ken and his legacy.

AMEN AND AMEN Larisa. THERE SHOULD BE A STATUE OF HIM IN DENVER CIVIC PARK!

Ken Gorman – Wikipedia

 

(Photo 1994 Denver Civic Center Park)

 

 

CONTINUE READING…

History of the U.S. Marijuana Party

ORIGINAL 239x211

 

Long before Loretta Nall campaigned on her cleavage, the activist’s cause was cannabis. The Alabama resident gained national attention during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign when she produced T-shirts with the caption “More of these boobs …” (with a photo of Nall in a low-cut shirt) “… And less of these boobs” (next to photos of her opponents). But the write-in candidate’s political roots date back to 2002, when a misdemeanor arrest for possession was the spark behind her forming the U.S. Marijuana Party (USMJP). The group — which demands “an end to the unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana” — has official party chapters in seven states, including Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky. While Nall left the USMJP to be a Libertarian Party governor nominee, the group continues to back candidates in local, state and national elections under the leadership of Richard Rawlings, who is currently running for Congress in Illinois.

Richard J Rawlings

Above:  Richard J. Rawlings, President USMjParty 2004-2011

In 2003 I started my quest for knowledge regarding Cannabis and Medical Cannabis.  In 2005 I met Ms. Tonya Davis and accompanied her to a few meetings and festivals in Ohio.  There I met Lynne Wilson and also Rev. Mary Thomas Spears who has become my closest friend since then. I remember asking Tonya Davis in 2005 if there was a political way to beat the beast so to speak, and asked her about “REPEAL”  but at the time most people were in to “Legalization”.

I went home, looked up the U.S. Marijuana Party as I had occasion to come upon it previously on the internet and had created an account there.  I made a phone call to Richard Rawlings.  I had posted on the then kentucky.usmjparty.com  but it had been taken down right before I contacted him and in fact that was my reason for calling, to find out what happened to Kentucky.

It so happened that this was about the same time as the inquiry into Marc Emery was being made by the U.S. DEA for shipping Cannabis seeds by mail to the U.S. (See this Link).  At the time I knew nothing about what was going on.  Richard put the Kentucky site back up and gave me Administrator status over it.  That was the beginning of my journey with the U.S. Marijuana Party.

From the beginning I was a “Repealer” and posted as such on the Kentucky site.  But it would be a number of years before the Party itself crossed over to being a true repeal group.

About 20 or more States were lost after Marc Emery was indicted.  I stayed on.  I do not think I even realized that he had been involved with the USMjParty to any extent and I do not believe he did have any involvement, at least by the time I started in Kentucky which was 2005.

Eventually in 2010 Richard offered me V.P. status which I hesitantly accepted because I never wanted to be a politician, it just was not my line of work so to speak.  However, after much thought I did accept and we continued on with the USMjParty even though there was no income to be had for doing it.  It was a passion and a way of life – not one to collect “funds” from.

In 2011 Richard started to become ill and by the later part of 2011 I was forced into making a decision I did not want to make but it was part of the job.  I called Bill Chengelis who was the Colorado Chair at the time and asked him to take Richard’s place as Head Chairman of the USMjParty.  I would remain on as the Kentucky Chair until the position could be filled by someone else – but that never happened.

By 2012 Richard was diagnosed with Stage IV Cancer and we stayed together until his death in February 2013.  He left me with all of his websites and the USMjParty.

I definitely did not want to be Head Chair so I decided that I would change my position considering what I had been left with to Organizer of USMjParty and I remained Kentucky Chair as well.
Since then I have focused around all the other people who have came in and out of the USMjParty as State Chairs and kept up the websites and other duties.  Today we have Chairs in Colorado, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Utah , Vermont and Oregon as well as other reporting Chapters in Hawaii, Florida, California, Idaho, Virginia, Washington State, Texas, and there are others as well waiting for a Reporter.  Please see this LINK for a Directory.

Today we push for REPEAL of the CSA as well as other Federal and U.N. laws which continue to dominate the Law even though Cannabis has been “legalized” in 23+ States.  Federally it is still an illegal substance under U.N. law via the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971) .  These are all grave issues which need to be addressed along with the commercialization and pharmaceutical takeover of this plant, which is in effect ONE plant…Cannabis Sativa L.

REPEAL is the only path to true freedom of this plant.  If we let legalization and CSA Schedule II take it over we have lost the war for the common person who wishes to grow their own on their own property without taxation.

We are “FIGHTING FOR THE FREEDOM FROM PROHIBITION OF YOUR FREEDOM’S!”

Sheree Krider with Gatewood Galbraith at Terrapin Farm

Above:  Sheree Krider with Gatewood Galbraith @2010

 

Sheree

Above:  Sheree Krider @2012

 

Related Posts:

 

STATE CHAPTERS AND OTHER AFFILIATIONS

 

Time Magazine Reports: U.S. Marijuana Party

 

The United States Marijuana Party

 

The History Behind the U.S. Marijuana Party (with Marc Emery)

 

USMjParty on Wikipedia

 

Archives of historical information/sites

Ex-judge urges Obama to commute harsh sentence he was forced to give

https://i0.wp.com/www.thecannabist.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mandatory-sentence-Weldon-Angelos-federal-judge-paul-cassell-800x496.jpg

A former federal judge in Utah is asking President Barack Obama to commute the sentence for Weldon Angelos, a music producer who was jailed in 2004. Pictured: In this Nov. 15, 2005 file photo, members of Safer Choice stand in protest at a Denver federal courthouse, where the court was hearing an appeal of Angelos’ conviction. (Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

 

Ex-judge urges Obama to commute harsh sentence he was forced to give

Weldon Angelos prison sentence: A former federal judge says the 55-year drug sentence he had to hand down is ‘unjust, cruel and irrational’ for a nonviolent offender who was subject to a lengthy prison term for bringing a gun to marijuana deals

Published: Feb 10, 2016, 5:20 pm Comments (6)

By Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — A former federal judge who gave a Utah music producer 55 years in prison for bringing a gun to marijuana deals asked the president to commute the sentence Tuesday, the latest appeal in a case held up as an example of problems with mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

Paul Cassell, now a law professor, said in a clemency petition letter that he was deeply troubled by the lengthy sentence he was forced to hand down in 2004 to Weldon Angelos, then a 24-year-old father of three.

The sentence he called “unjust, cruel, and even irrational” was the main reason Cassell stepped down from the bench after five years. Angelos got a longer prison term than people convicted of crimes such as kidnapping, rape and second-degree murder, Cassell said.

“When the sentence for actual violence inflicted on a victim is dwarfed by a sentence for carrying guns to several drug deals, the implicit message to victims is that their pain and suffering counts for less than some abstract ‘war on drugs,’” the former judge wrote.

Angelos likely would not face such a harsh sentence today, Cassell said. President Barack Obama has pushed for the reduction or outright elimination of severe mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders. The White House did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

Angelos founded Extravagant Records in Utah, producing hip-hop and rap music. He had no criminal record before he was convicted of selling $350 worth of marijuana to a police informant three times.

Prosecutors said he was a gang member who carried a gun during two of those deals, though he was not accused of using or showing a weapon. Angelos denied being in a gang and having a firearm, but police found several guns while searching his apartment.

He was convicted in federal court of 16 counts of drug trafficking, weapons possession and money laundering.

The penalty for possessing firearms during a drug transaction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for the first offense and 25 years for each subsequent deal. The federal system does not have parole.

It’s not the first time the president has been urged to commute Angelos’ sentence. In 2013, more than 100 high-profile figures petitioned the White House, including an ex-FBI director, prosecutors and celebrities.

Politicians such as Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy also have said the punishment didn’t fit the crime. The conservative billionaire Koch brothers have also taken notice of the case in their push for sentencing reform.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah declined to comment on the case. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Lund said in 2004: “This sends the message that people who engage in armed drug dealing are going to face very serious consequences.”

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the sentence, and the U.S. Supreme Court has denied Angelos’ petition for a hearing.

Angelos, now 36, has served more than 12 years in prison, and a presidential commutation is his only option.

His sister, Lisa Angelos, said the clemency letter is a “huge” step that she hopes is a turning point. Weldon Angelos has spent his time in a prison in California earning a business degree, working in the institution’s dental lab and tutoring others, she said.

The expense of traveling there makes it hard for his family to visit, and he recently saw his sons, now 17 and 19, for the first time in years, his sister said.

“He’s missing out on basically their entire lives,” Lisa Angelos said.

CONTINUE READING…

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