Tag Archives: prison industrial complex

(TN) Human Rights and Cannabis Activist “The King Pin” Thorne Peters Continues to Fight Shelby County Charges After Latest Arrest

Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

For the act to be guilty, the mind must be guilty, for the mind to be guilty, the act must be criminal.

April 12, 2018

thorne

On April 3rd, Mr. Thorne Peters was “live” in front of the Shelby County Justice Center, awaiting his latest arrest for selling small amounts of  Cannabis in baggies – prior to his sentencing for the case which he lost to a Jury of his “peers” on March 1, 2018, in Shelby County Tennessee under Judge J. Robert Carter Jr.

Because of the nature of evil from within the System you have to realize at some point that we cannot allow them to continue legislating us to death.  Legislation promotes the prison industrial complex and every day another innocent person is sent into inhumane conditions to suffer for “imaginary” crimes, if you will.

Every time another piece of Legislation is enacted we all lose another piece of our Freedom!  This holds true particularly in the fight against prohibition of Cannabis/Hemp (yes, they are = ONE plant), because every time a piece of “medical” legislation is passed it regulates us out of our freedom.  The easiest example of this is legislation that would prohibit personal growing.  I have written about this subject before, as it all ties in with Agenda 21 and the fight for the control of all of our food and medicine. 

Cannabis is FOOD first.  It is an unalienable right from birth.  We cannot allow what we were given at birth to be stolen from us, literally one plant at a time.  Anyone who has ever been involved in any research about Cannabis knows the conspiracies or reasons behind it’s illegality.   The fight for our freedom must be a repeal of the prohibiting laws both on the Federal Statutes and U.N. Treaty levels.  That strategy alongside #NO MENS REA by defendants in possession of Cannabis cases of all kinds can change the Justice System as we know it today.  The bottom line is that Cannabis has to be freed for ALL not just SOME for A FEW REASONS!  If we do not push for change now and continue to allow the “legislating” of Cannabis it will not end with Cannabis – this I can promise you.  If you live long enough you will see regulation on the possession and use of fruits and vegetables and weeds, (just like “Hemp” has to be <.3 THC) !  It was started a long time ago and has progressed into what we see today.  And the regulation and control of Cannabis as a Schedule II Controlled Substance will be the launch of the Corporate Pharma driven market that we will be left with and you can forget about growing your own plants!

Cannabis has to be removed from control first and released back to the people in it’s full form.  At that point, if Corporate Cannabis can market a good product for sale at a reasonable cost and contribute to tax revenue system, I would be glad to try it…at the same time I am growing my own plants, for my own purposes, in my own backyard, or sunroom!

The injustice that Thorne Peters is subjecting himself to, to make a very real effort to inform the people at large about their Human Rights is to be noted and appreciated.  I think that more people should take the time to fully listen to what he is saying and not take offense to his expressiveness.  I also find it appalling that there has been no notable media coverage to speak of on his case.  I will ask you to share the information as far as you can and encourage other media outlets to cover this story.

THE SPECTER OF THE GUN was used to take THE TRIAL OF THE MILLENNIUM next level by labeling me a CRIMINAL who committed no crime and a VIOLENT OFFENDER who committed no act of violence according to the evidence and testimony. NO MENS REA is now “A FORTIORI”. As I will have some years to spend in prison, pending a multitude of appeals, I will find fellow prisoners who also have no name of a victim on their affidavit and unleash them upon the system. “

On the 10th of April Thorne Peters was arraigned for charges incurred on the Courthouse steps on the 3rd of April – which was supposed to be his sentencing day for the  Guilty verdict on March 1st.  That date was moved forward to the 12th of April.

Linda Harrah, known as “Lady L”, his partner, has indicated to me that the conditions inside of this facility are inhumane – a problem all unto itself.  He is being held in the “drunk tank” where  it is very loud all the time,  with trouble frequently breaking out and little or no supervision .  He is on “lockdown” 23 hours per day leaving only one hour for personal hygiene, phone calls or whatever else he may need to take care of such as commissary – I suppose if there is a long line that day you are just sh*t  out  of luck! 

“Lady L”  was in court for sentencing today.

He was sentenced to 36 months 100% time and 1 yr 30% time … so 39 months. He has hurt no one and only committed acts of civil disobedience.  He has committed no crime against anyone’s “person, property nor puppy”…

On April 24th he will be arraigned  for the two new pot charges from April 3rd.  On May 30th he will be back before Judge J Robert Carter Jr. for appeal.

“He was magnificent on the stand today testifying to all the history of the past that he represents. Can’t wait to hear or read the transcripts.” – “Lady L”

BE SURE TO FOLLOW “LADY L”, LINDA HARRAH, ON FACEBOOK !

Lady L” has been by Thorne’s side since the beginning and is  striving to keep the information flowing about this very important #NOMENSREA Case,.  She is on Facebook everyday giving updates thru video.  It is very interesting to watch.  Though it is heartbreaking to see someone so  dedicated to Activism be treated so unjustly and inhumanely by our Justice System, i.e., Shelby County, Tennessee, in particular.

WATCH & LISTEN
as THE KINGPIN takes The Ministerz of Injustice to task
for the ongoing CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY against him that
officially began November 11, 2008

THE PLANTED BUST

Call Governor  Bill Haslam (615) 741- 2001 ask for Constituent Services or Policy. Tell them you want to have the Thorne Peters conspiracy investigated # NOMENSREA…

Below listed are links to Facebook Video’s from “Lady L” which give updates for each day since Thorne’s arrest.

Thurs:  April 12th – Day 10   Additional Video

Weds:  April 11th – Day 9

Tues:  April 10th – Day 8

Mon:  April 9th – Day 7

Sun:  April 8th – Day 6

Sat:  April 7th – Day 5

Fri:  April 6th – Day 4

Thurs:  April 5th – Day 3

Weds:  April 4th – Day 2

Tues:  April 3rd – Day 1

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Those of you facing PROHIBITION charges, who are not a target of your local Ministerz of Injustice, who have no guns to be tainted with, will follow the law to proceed PRO SE with the lawful offensive of NO MENS REA and the HUMAN RIGHTS declaration of “I AM THE LAW” in the name of THE KINGPIN Thorne Peters! Any other position is unlawful; a crime against humanity . . .

RELATED:

FOUND GUILTY, BY JURY, of “possession of pot – that I was not in possession of…” Thorne Peters

Thorne Peters LIVE from Shelby County Justice Center in Memphis Tn …

“NO MENS REA WAY MARCH UNTIL PROHIBITION ENDS”

The FREEDOMcast of THE KINGPIN THORNE PETERS!

HERE IS EVIDENCE OF A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY & PROOF OF #NOMENSREA

THE KINGPIN PUNKS A PIG! DETECTIVE GARY BEANS. MAYOR MARK LUTTRELL. AMY WEIRICH, BILL GIBBONS

CHRONOLOGY OF CORRUPTION!

This is the highlight video of Thorne Peters , THE KINGPIN, selling POT on the front steps of the Memphis TN, Shelby County Courthouse on 4-3-2018.

PLEASE ALSO REMEMBER THAT FUNDS ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED FOR EXPENSES AND LEGAL COSTS!  PLEASE DONATE!

DANX for sharing with “THE FREEDOMfund” … I will be sentenced to 12 years in prison on April 3, 2018, with a projected release date of 10/2021, so I need your support to keep my home fires burning; I need to make phone calls to continue being heard LIVE daily on the phone to share the message of FREEDOM with those being oppressed; I need to take care of Lady L, so she is not in the dark in da hood and maybe some of our puppiez . . . I’d love to see them again in life. So, jump in and make a difference in my life as I go down fighting for our FREEDOM from PROHIBITION, even from behind the prison walls. “I AM THE LAW!” #NOMENSREA .

OTHER INFORMATION OF NOTE:

TO SEND LETTERS OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

Shelby County Criminal Justice Center

Thorne Peters
201 Poplar
Section LL Block A
Housing 14 Bed L
Memphis Tn 38103

Tennessee locks ailing, mentally ill, pregnant and juvenile prisoners in isolation to help jails save money.

FINDINGS LETTER RE INVESTIGATION OF SHELBY COUNTY JAIL

J. ROBERT CARTER, JR.

Untitled

J. Robert “Bobby” Carter – Ballotpedia

How the U.N. is stealing our “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” to grow food and Medicine through U.N. Convention on Narcotic Drugs

smkrider

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40 YEARS FOR MARIJUANA IS NOT JUSTICE

GRANT CLEMENCY TO OUR SON EDWIN RUBIS – 40 YEARS FOR MARIJUANA IS NOT JUSTICE

Untitled

Jeremy Malone Huntsville, AL

Our son, Edwin Rubis, is serving a federal sentence of 40 years for a non-violent marijuana offense. [www.marijuanaliferproject.org/federal-prisoner-edwin-rubis-is-serving-life-for-marijuana/

At age 29, our son, while battling drug addiction, associated himself with drug couriers, and was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. After his arrest, his court-appointed attorney advised him, along with us, that he needed to provide information on others in the drug trade. Edwin could not provide such information. Therefore, he was quickly deemed “uncooperative”, and the judge gave him a harsh sentence – 40 years.

Edwin has been away from us for the last 19 years.

During the course of time, we have adamantly petitioned, and at times cried, for his early release, at every level of the court system. Sadly to say, we continue to struggle, missing him, with no positive resolution to obtain his freedom. Edwin’s children need him. We need him. Our son is not a terrorist, a rapist, a gang member, nor a violent individual to continually be kept in prison for decades for distributing marijuana. While imprisoned, Edwin has taken diligent steps to better himself. He has achieved numerous rehabilitation programs from the psychology and religious departments. He has graduated from college with a degree in Religious Education; and he is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Counseling and Therapist Certification. In addition, he serves as a mentor to others, under the supervision of the head chaplain. He is also working as a G.E.D. and E.S.L. tutor in the education department, at his present institution of confinement, helping others further their education. In addition, Edwin also finished a 2 year dental apprenticeship from The Department of Labor, and worked as a dental assistant for the last 7 years in the medical department.

We love our son, [uncle, father, and brother]. We wish for him to receive another chance at life. But our dream for him to be reunited with us, can not be accomplished without your full support.

Please help us obtain our son’s freedom by signing this petition urging President Donald Trump to grant our son clemency or a pardon.

Edwin is a changed man. He has been fully rehabilitated and deserves a second chance at life.

Sincerely, Maria Roque – and – Family.

PLEASE CONTINUE READING AND SIGN THE PETITION TO FREE THIS MAN NOW!

NJ Weedman not guilty on 1 witness tampering count, jury hung on 2nd

Screenshot-2017-11-10 NJ Weedman not guilty on 1 witness tampering count, jury hung on 2nd

By Olivia Rizzo

For NJ.com

TRENTON — A jury on Thursday found Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion not guilty of the more serious witness tampering crime he was charged with, and was hung on a second count of the same charge.

The marijuana advocate was visibly excited with the outcome.

Once the jury had cleared the court, Forchion raised his hands in victory before making an oral motion to Mercer County Judge Anthony Massi to re-open his detention hearing.

(He remains jailed; Massi noted the oral request, but said it needed to be properly filed.)

As the jury was leaving the courtroom, Forchion leaned down into the microphone and thanked them.

Late Thursday, in a call from the Mercer County jail, Forchion said: “To all the jurors, thank you!”

“I have always believed in the jury system, and in this case it worked out. I’m happy as hell,” he said.

In court, clad in a red and black suit, Forchion had given supporters sitting behind him a quick thumbs up before the jury entered the courtroom. Moments later, they found him not guilty of a second-degree witness tampering charge, and was hung on a third-degree count of the same charge.

Neither Mercer County assistant prosecutors who tried the case, Stephanie Katz or John Boyle, commented on the outcome, saying the matter was still pending.

NJ Weedman on trial: Everything you need to know

NJ Weedman on trial: Everything you need to know

He’s been in jail since March, but Ed Forchion is still making news

Prosecutors allege the marijuana right advocate publicly outed the witness who he believes informed on him to authorities in the investigation that led to the 2016 drug raid of his Trenton restaurant.

The prosecutor’s office now has 120 days to re-try Forchion, or dismiss the charge. A status conference date will be set to discuss the future of the case, . 

In the Thursday night call, Forchion reiterated his stance that there will be no plea bargains, and if the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office wants to try him again, he’s ready for round two.

“I am going to trial,” he said.

After the verdicts, a group of his supporters were initially happy when the jury ruled that Forchion was not guilty on the one count, but became frustrated when they learned he would not be released from jail.

“That’s not what he’s guilty of,” Debi Madeo, Forchion’s fiance, said outside the courtroom, “he’s guilty of being an asshole.”

Madeo said she’s worried Forchion will remain in jail for several more months, until a new trial can begin. She then echoed statements Forchion has made in the past about not receiving a fair trial.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Forchion badgered the witness online and sent mail to his neighbors.

Forchion testified that he was an “ass,” and he posted on social media a lot, but he did not believe what he was doing was illegal, and prosecutor’s were pursuing a “fake case.”

Daeja Forchion

6 hours ago

UPDATE: Not guilty on 2nd degree ❗️❗️❗️
hung jury on 3rd❗️
another 120 days in jail for another trial
#freenjweedman
#notguilty

Olivia Rizzo may be reached at orizzo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find NJ.com on Facebook

CONTINUE READING AND TO SOURCE LINK!


FACEBOOK LINK

https://www.facebook.com/daeja.forchion/posts/10214652248329573

Despite increased social acceptance, marijuana possession arrests increase: ACLU

cannabis-sativa-plant-1404978607akl

ACLU calls for Pa. to legalize marijuana

By Steve Marroni

smarroni@pennlive.com

HARRISBURG – The findings of a new study that black people are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, even though usage rates are just about the same, does not surprise the ACLU.

“The racial disparities in possession arrests have been around for a long time,” said Andy Hoover, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “It is distressing that it’s getting worse.”

But what is a surprise, Hoover said, is that possession arrests for marijuana are on the rise around the state, despite an ever-increasing social acceptance.

“We’re seeing now that 59 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalization. Only 31 percent oppose,” he said today, adding “the rise in possession arrests is distressing.”

But he hopes lawmakers are on board with the call the ACLU made today at the state Capitol to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania.

You can read the full report, Cannabis Crackdown, on the ACLU’s website.

In summary, the authors of the report studied marijuana offenses in Pennsylvania from 2010 to 2016. The study shows:

  • Possession arrests of adults increased 33 percent in that time,
  • Black people were eight times more likely than white people to be arrested, despite similar usage rates,
  • The state police total arrests per year more than doubled from 2,221 to 4,612 in that seven-year period,
  • The cost to Pennsylvania taxpayers has been more than $225 million in that time.

“Legalization is the only solution to this problem,” Hoover said.

Philadelphia engaged in a decriminalization effort in the last three years, said Matt Stroud of the ACLU, who is an author of the report. The data there shows a remarkable decline in marijuana-related arrests there – about 88 percent.

Cannabis consumer advocate Chris Goldstein said since Philadelphia’s decriminalization, there have been no marijuana-possession arrests of the more than 300,000 students on the city’s college campuses, as opposed to Penn State, where 250 students are arrested per year for marijuana possession.

Cannabis consumer advocate supports ACLU stance to legalize

And unlike Philadelphia, the other 66 counties in Pennsylvania show a remarkable increase in arrests, Stroud added.

In reading this report, state Rep. Jordan Harris of Philadelphia, who is chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, agrees that marijuana should be legalized. The current laws are “nothing be a war on the people,” he said, and research shows legalization does not make communities less safe.

State representative discusses racial bias in marijuana arrests

“It’s time to stand on research, and the research shows it’s time to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania,” he said, getting applause from the supporters attending the event.

It is particularly disturbing that racial bias has creeped into marijuana arrests, he said.

“I would much rather my law enforcement officers work on murder, rape and protecting our children than spending our valuable tax resources on arresting people for smoking a jay on their way home from a long day of work,” he said.

The police have more important things to focus on than “a non-violent thing called smoking a joint,” added state Rep. Ed Gainey of Allegheny County.

“We can’t continue to incarcerate,” he said. “What we have to do is legitimize and legalize a drug that the people should have the choice to use.”

State representative calls for marijuana legalization

And consumer advocate Goldstein said while the racial disparity is disturbing, so are the number of lives ruined by possession arrests. He said 70 percent of those arrested for possession are between 18 and 30 years old, and these arrests unfairly impact their ability to find jobs, get an education and make a life for themselves.

While the ACLU and some lawmakers support legalization, it may be a challenging road ahead, but ACLU spokesman Hoover said he is hopefully.

“There is a lot of conversation here in the General Assembly about smart justice,” he said. “There is a recognition that the policies implemented in the last 30 to 40 years have failed. We believe that cannabis legalization is part of that discussion.”

Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat from Montgomery County, first introduced a marijuana-legalization bill in 2013, and has a new version of that bill in the Senate Law and Justice Committee now. His spokesman, Steve Hoenstine, said this bill calls for marijuana to be sold at state stores, where there is already a sales and monitoring system in place.

And those sales are projected to “completely close the revenue gap with a brand new, sustained revenue that does not involved a tax increase.”

He said it only makes sense to bring in these funds rather than spending taxpayer money on enforcement.

Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, Hoover added, adding the “reefer madness mentality is old, inaccurate and wrong.”

This post has been updated with more information about a bill currently in committee.

CONTINUE READING, FURTHER INFORMATION AND VIDEO!

With much gratitude from the USMjParty, Thank You, Sen. Booker!

THIS is what I’ve been praying for!

cory booker

Above:  Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announces the “Marijuana Justice Act” live on Facebook, August 1, 2017.  Follow link to view video!

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Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) took a giant leap to the front of the legalize Marijuana train and did, in fact, introduce what I consider to be a genuine attempt at ending the failed drug war on all of our people.

The MARIJUANA JUSTICE ACT would correct the long-standing goals of the prison industrial complex.  It is asking to do the following:

*Remove Marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act at the Federal Level,

*Give incentive to States via Federal funds to discontinue prosecuting for Marijuana,

*Retroactive – to provide for a review of Marijuana sentences,

*Expunge – Federal Marijuana use and possession crimes,

*Create Community reinvestment through various programs,

“Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.”

The legalize Marijuana movement has been gaining strength for a number of years now throughout the U.S., and when Attorney General Jeff Session announced his requiem of a failed (and inhumane) war on Marijuana it turned enough heads to say enough is enough!  We cannot continue to let our Government lock us in cages for no good reason. 

There has been numerous Bills introduced so far this year concerning Marijuana, according to GovTrack.us.  I am including a few of the links here for convenience.

H.R. 3534: To make the Controlled Substances Act inapplicable with respect to marihuana in States that have legalized marijuana and have in effect a statewide regulatory regime to protect certain Federal interests, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3391: To amend the Controlled Substances Act to make marijuana accessible for use by qualified marijuana researchers for medical purposes, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3252: Second Chance for Students Act

S. 1374: CARERS Act of 2017

H.R. 2920: CARERS Act of 2017

S. 1008: Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2017

H.R. 2273: Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2017

H.R. 2020: To provide for the rescheduling of marijuana into schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

The only way to truly end the war on marijuana is to remove it from the CSA and then continue down through the individual States.  This is what Sen. Booker is trying to make happen with the Marijuana Justice Act and I certainly hope that everyone gets behind him on this most important endeavor.

Here is a link to his Twitter where you can send him a message to congratulate him on this awesome step his is taking!

We cannot continue to let our people die on rogue street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl because they have to pass a drug test for Marijuana.  End the madness now!  End the war on drugs!  REPEAL PROHIBITION!

https://www.facebook.com/corybooker/videos/10157111094132228/

https://www.scribd.com/document/355207910/Marijuana-Justice-Act-of-2017#user-util-view-profile

https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=638

https://twitter.com/SenBookerOffice?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/browse?text=marijuana#sort=-introduced_date

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/medical-marijuana-bill-aims-to-fight-sessions-war-on-drugs-w488311

http://www.wlky.com/article/sen-booker-introduce-marijuana-justice-act/10396905

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2017/07/23/the-children-left-behind/

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2017/07/11/dying-with-francis-and-learning-to-live-again/

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/09/24/all-roads-in-kentucky-lead-you-through-hell/

http://kyusmjparty.weebly.com/usmjparty-platform.html?fb_action_ids=10154004928797994&fb_action_types=og.comments

Give a Pregnant Mom Marijuana, Be Guilty of Murder?

Opposing abortion alone does not make someone pro-life. That stance is merely “pro-birth,” according to Sister Joan Chittister, a Catholic nun and thus a member of a broad, billion-person-strong social movement—the Catholic Church—which does not look kindly upon abortion. To be pro-life, one must care for someone after they’re born, not just before. 

So. What makes someone so concerned with the welfare of the unborn that they’d like to imprison their mothers for even the slightest taste of cannabis while pregnant—creating a sort of ob-gyn to prison pipeline?

“Fucking crazy” might be one reasonable conclusion. It would also make you a “Wyoming state lawmaker,” such as the cabal in Cheyenne that’s pushing a new package of drug laws.

K2Radio brings us news of the push to criminalize—further, since there are plenty of bad parenting laws on the books—“drug induced infant endangerment.”

The brainchild of Rep. Jim Blackburn, Rep. Mark Jennings, Rep. Jared Olsen, Rep. Nathan Winters and Sen. Ogden Driskill—dudes, all of them, of course—the bill creates stiff penalties for a pregnant mother who uses any illegal drug, and even stiffer penalties for anyone who provides the pregnant mother with said drug.

Nobody would argue using methamphetamine or heroin while pregnant is a good idea. Same thing with alcohol or tobacco. Conveniently, the way this law is written, it would be remarkably easy to punish a mother for even the slightest marijuana use.

To be guilty of “drug-induced infant homicide,” a mother need only give “birth to a viable infant during or after drug use,” after which point “and the infant dies, or drug use contributes to the infant’s death.” That would be a felony punishable by 10 years in prison.

The threshold to be guilty of “drug-induced infant abuse,” which carries a five-year prison term, is even lower: A mother faces that penalty if she uses “an illegal narcotic drug while pregnant and gives birth to a child who tests positive for any amount of that drug” (emphasis ours).

Before you fool yourself into thinking this is reasonable, remember the context.

More mothers than ever before are using cannabis during pregnancy in order to deal with morning sickness. To all the men out there: Imagine being sick, every day, in some cases for most of the day. Then imagine being in a situation where you had to eat in order to deliver nutrition to the thing growing inside you, but being too sick to do so.

It’s still not clear what happens to a child whose mother uses marijuana during pregnancy, though some studies suggest there’s no issue at all.

This comes shortly after the DEA recently specified that cannabidiol, CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is a Schedule I drug. And finally, since marijuana is fat-soluble and stays in the body for weeks or longer after use, the takeaway is that if this passes, a mother who so much as sniffs cannabis during pregnancy could lose her child and end up in the state pen for a five-spot.

But that’s nothing compared to the individual who delivered the drugs to the expectant mother.

If someone “knowingly” delivers a Schedule I or II controlled substance to a pregnant mother, they risk a prison term of between 10 and 25 years, according to K2Radio.

Methamphetamine is a huge problem in Wyoming, according to the Justice Department… just as drug abuse is an issue anywhere the economy is trash, including poor neighborhoods in big liberal cities. And like everywhere else, heroin use has come roaring back in Wyoming, riding the crest of the tsunami of prescription pills unleashed in America, as a 2015 story in GQ detailed.

You don’t often hear more incarceration and more crime as the solution to these ills—at least not in serious academic or scientific circles. But that’s not the thinking when you’re pro-birth—and pro-prison.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

CONTINUE READING…

Cannabis convict Eddy Lepp free from prison

Lepp, age 64, hailed as a “marijuana martyr” by supporters

 

By Lisa M. Krieger | lkrieger@bayareanewsgroup.com

PUBLISHED: December 7, 2016 at 9:59 am | UPDATED: December 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

 

Image result for eddy lepp

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Free after eight years of federal imprisonment, one of the nation’s most celebrated cannabis convicts came home to California on Wednesday, walking off a United Airlines flight into the warm embrace of supporters — and a profoundly changed world.

Charles “Eddy” Lepp, a defiant 64-year-old Vietnam vet and ordained Rastafarian minister, was convicted on federal felony charges in 2007 for doing something that California now considers legal because of last month’s passage of Proposition 64: growing marijuana.

 

“I’m very honored. I’m very humbled. Thank you so much for caring,” Lepp told friends and family at San Francisco International Airport, tears streaming down his creased cheeks.

Then he vowed to fight for national legalization of cannabis and presidential pardons for first-time nonviolent drug offenders.

“Just because I went to federal prison doesn’t mean I got off the horse,” said Lepp, who will be on drug-monitored probation for five years. “It is still a long, long ride — and I’ll be there when it’s done.”


Read the full story and find more California cannabis news at TheCannifornian.com.

SOURCE LINK

Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use…

Interview: Why the US Should Decriminalize Drug Use

 

Summary

 

Neal Scott may die in prison. A 49-year-old Black man from New Orleans, Neal had cycled in and out of prison for drug possession over a number of years. He said he was never offered treatment for his drug dependence; instead, the criminal justice system gave him time behind bars and felony convictions—most recently, five years for possessing a small amount of cocaine and a crack pipe. When Neal was arrested in May 2015, he was homeless and could not walk without pain, struggling with a rare autoimmune disease that required routine hospitalizations. Because he could not afford his $7,500 bond, Neal remained in jail for months, where he did not receive proper medication and his health declined drastically—one day he even passed out in the courtroom. Neal eventually pled guilty because he would face a minimum of 20 years in prison if he took his drug possession case to trial and lost. He told us that he cried the day he pled, because he knew he might not survive his sentence.[1]

***

Just short of her 30th birthday, Nicole Bishop spent three months in jail in Houston for heroin residue in an empty baggie and cocaine residue inside a plastic straw. Although the prosecutor could have charged misdemeanor paraphernalia, he sought felony drug possession charges instead. They would be her first felonies.

Nicole was separated from her three young children, including her breastfeeding newborn. When the baby visited Nicole in jail, she could not hear her mother’s voice or feel her touch because there was thick glass between them. Nicole finally accepted a deal from the prosecutor: she would do seven months in prison in exchange for a guilty plea for the 0.01 grams of heroin found in the baggie, and he would dismiss the straw charge. She would return to her children later that year, but as a “felon” and “drug offender.” As a result, Nicole said she would lose her student financial aid and have to give up pursuit of a degree in business administration. She would have trouble finding a job and would not be able to have her name on the lease for the home she shared with her husband. She would no longer qualify for the food stamps she had relied on to help feed her children. As she told us, she would end up punished for the rest of her life.

***

Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use, just as Neal and Nicole were. Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime. More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year. And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.

As a result of these arrests, on any given day at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, some 48,000 of them in state prisons and 89,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention. Each day, tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. Their criminal records lock them out of jobs, housing, education, welfare assistance, voting, and much more, and subject them to discrimination and stigma. The cost to them and to their families and communities, as well as to the taxpayer, is devastating. Those impacted are disproportionately communities of color and the poor.

This report lays bare the human costs of criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the US, focusing on four states: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drawing from over 365 interviews with people arrested and prosecuted for their drug use, attorneys, officials, activists, and family members, and extensive new analysis of national and state data, the report shows how criminalizing drug possession has caused dramatic and unnecessary harms in these states and around the country, both for individuals and for communities that are subject to discriminatory enforcement.

There are injustices and corresponding harms at every stage of the criminal process, harms that are all the more apparent when, as often happens, police, prosecutors, or judges respond to drug use as aggressively as the law allows. This report covers each stage of that process, beginning with searches, seizures, and the ways that drug possession arrests shape interactions with and perceptions of the police—including for the family members and friends of individuals who are arrested. We examine the aggressive tactics of many prosecutors, including charging people with felonies for tiny, sometimes even “trace” amounts of drugs, and detail how pretrial detention and long sentences combine to coerce the overwhelming majority of drug possession defendants to plead guilty, including, in some cases, individuals who later prove to be innocent.

The report also shows how probation and criminal justice debt often hang over people’s heads long after their conviction, sometimes making it impossible for them to move on or make ends meet. Finally, through many stories, we recount how harmful the long-term consequences of incarceration and a criminal record that follow a conviction for drug possession can be—separating parents from young children and excluding individuals and sometimes families from welfare assistance, public housing, voting, employment opportunities, and much more.

Families, friends, and neighbors understandably want government to take actions to prevent the potential harms of drug use and drug dependence. Yet the current model of criminalization does little to help people whose drug use has become problematic. Treatment for those who need and want it is often unavailable, and criminalization tends to drive people who use drugs underground, making it less likely that they will access care and more likely that they will engage in unsafe practices that make them vulnerable to disease and overdose.

While governments have a legitimate interest in preventing problematic drug use, the criminal law is not the solution. Criminalizing drug use simply has not worked as a matter of practice. Rates of drug use fluctuate, but they have not declined significantly since the “war on drugs” was declared more than four decades ago. The criminalization of drug use and possession is also inherently problematic because it represents a restriction on individual rights that is neither necessary nor proportionate to the goals it seeks to accomplish. It punishes an activity that does not directly harm others.

Instead, governments should expand public education programs that accurately describe the risks and potential harms of drug use, including the potential to cause drug dependence, and should increase access to voluntary, affordable, and evidence-based treatment for drug dependence and other medical and social services outside the court and prison system.

After decades of “tough on crime” policies, there is growing recognition in the US that governments need to undertake meaningful criminal justice reform and that the “war on drugs” has failed. This report shows that although taking on parts of the problem—such as police abuse, long sentences, and marijuana reclassification—is critical, it is not enough: Criminalization is simply the wrong response to drug use and needs to be rethought altogether.

Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union call on all states and the federal government to decriminalize the use and possession for personal use of all drugs and to focus instead on prevention and harm reduction. Until decriminalization has been achieved, we urge officials to take strong measures to minimize and mitigate the harmful consequences of existing laws and policies. The costs of the status quo, as this report shows, are too great to bear.

 

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LINK TO PDF VERSION OF REPORT (205 PAGES)

Why are more Americans in jail for marijuana use than violent crime?

More people in the United States are now in jail for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined, a new study finds….On any given day in the US, at least 137,000 Americans are in prison on drug possession, not sales, charges, says a new report that finds that the “tough on drugs” policies may be disproportionately affecting low-income, black Americans.

By Ellen Powell, Staff October 12, 2016

More people in the United States are now in jail for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined, a new study finds….

The report, released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, points out that violent crime arrests in the US have dropped 36 percent in the past two decades. Meanwhile, arrests for drug possession – including marijuana and other illicit drugs – are up 13 percent. Those arrests tend to be concentrated in neighborhoods with high crime rates, where police officers are on the lookout for any offense. As a result, lower-income, black Americans are most likely to be arrested for possessing even trace amounts of illicit drugs. (Black Americans are 2.5 times as likely to be arrested on drug-related charges, according to federal data, even though they use drugs at the same rate as white Americans.) Those who can’t afford to post bail spend substantial amounts of time in jail, even before their case goes to trial.

Tougher sentencing was intended to get chronic repeat offenders off the street, reduce drug use, and protect public health. But the “tough on drugs” policy prevalent since the 1980s isn’t working, the report argues. Criminalizing drug possession is derailing individuals’ lives and hurting the families who depend on them, while doing little to prevent drug use and abuse.

“While families, friends, and neighbors understandably want government to take action to prevent the potential harm caused by drug use, criminalization is not the answer,” Tess Borden, the study’s author, said in a Human Rights Watch press release. “Locking people up for using drugs causes tremendous harm, while doing nothing to help those who need and want treatment.”

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The report comes at a time when the Obama administration and a bipartisan effort in Congress has already taken steps at judicial reform. For example, the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act erased a 5-year-minimum sentence for simple crack possession. As The Christian Science Monitor reported, “much of the Obama administration’s work has been done courthouse by courthouse. For one, the Department of Justice has guided prosecutors to curb the use of mandatory minimums for drug crimes. But the president has also made broader strokes.” 

Since 2014, the Obama administration expanded the criteria for clemency-seekers, leading to hundreds of who were given long-term sentences for drug charges to be released. 

But the ALCU report says that in some states, such as Texas, a “habitual offender” law means prosecutors still can push for longer sentences, including life sentences, for those with two prior convictions. The actual amount of the drug that individuals possess doesn’t matter.

And what most concerns many low-income Americans is the impact on families. While the accused are in jail, even before trial, they’re not earning a wage, meaning that in some homes the water and lights could be cut off. A woman in Louisiana with a prison record told the rights groups that because of her probation, her family could not get food stamps for a year. That means her children will be eating whatever she can find in the dumpster, she explained. It can also be hard for those arrested to find a job when they get out. 

“When you’re a low-income person of color using drugs, you’re criminalized…. When we’re locked up, we’re not only locked in but also locked out. Locked out of housing…. Locked out of employment and other services,” said one New York City man who had been repeatedly arrested for drug charges over the past 30 years.

Criminalizing drugs, the report says, can actually increase the risks associated with drug use. Driving traffic underground “discourages access to emergency medicine, overdose prevention services, and risk-reducing practices such as syringe exchanges.”

The report calls for an increase in rehabilitation programs and a move to treat drug use as a public health issue, rather than lumping it in with violent crime. That’s an approach the Obama administration is on-board with, Mario Moreno, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, suggested. “We cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem,” he told CBS.

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

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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.

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