High Times launches petition for pot prisoners
High Times magazine has put together a petition to release all non-violent marijuana prisoners and to change sentencing guidelines for minor offenses nationally.
The magazine launched the petition on 420, and it’s very close to having enough signatures as of this morning (when I checked they were 220 short of their goal).
According to their news release:
“The petition urges Attorney General Holder, as well as the Attorney General Designate, to recommend for the immediate release of all non-violent marijuana offenders and to provide new sentencing guidelines to give law enforcement other options besides imprisoning non-violent offenders. In 2013, 693,482 people were arrested for a marijuana law violation and of those, 609,423 (88 percent) were charged only with possession.”
The petition is here, if you’re interested in signing it: High Times: Free Pot Prisoners Now!
As times continue to change and legalization for recreational and medical continue to spread, I personally think it’s a great idea to free people who have gotten extensive sentences for minor possession. Although the federal government has been noncommittal about many pot issues (other than Obama’s pardoning of 20 or so prisoners with life sentences for marijuana).
The press release from High Times is below if you want to check it out.
High Times launches petition on Change.Org for release of all non violent pot prisoners
New York, NY (April 20, 2015) – HIGH TIMES magazine has launched a petition on Change.org today urging United States Attorney General Eric Holder, United States Attorney General Designate Loretta Lynch and California Attorney General Kamala Harris to release all non-violent marijuana prisoners. Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens remain behind bars, even as marijuana reform sweeps the nation. Since its founding over 40 years ago, HIGH TIMES has championed this cause, one of its founding principles, alongside unfettered medical marijuana access and a level playing field for the cannabis industry.
While the federal government has relaxed its stance on marijuana, allowing states to implement their own laws and no longer prosecuting businesses running in accordance with these laws, the status of those persecuted under old laws remains ignored. HIGH TIMES’ petition calls for a rectification between the United States’ past marijuana laws and the current situation.
“President Obama recently commuted 20-odd prisoners serving life for a first time drug offense,” says CEO of Trans High Corp and volunteer lawyer for “Lifers for Pot” Michael Kennedy. “Nineteen of them were convicted of coke and meth crimes… clearly much more serious misdeeds than pot dealing, but the big O only commuted one marijuana lifer. While we at HIGH TIMES totally support these commutations, we have to press the President to look more closely at our Lifers For Pot and free them forthwith!”
The petition urges Attorney General Holder, as well as the Attorney General Designate, to recommend for the immediate release of all non-violent marijuana offenders and to provide new sentencing guidelines to give law enforcement other options besides imprisoning non-violent offenders. In 2013, 693,482 people were arrested for a marijuana law violation and of those, 609,423 (88 percent) were charged only with possession.
Even in California, where marijuana prisoners are beginning to be released, 482 non-violent marijuana offenders remain in prison, which is not only a high human cost but a huge cost to taxpayers. For this reason, HIGH TIMES is soliciting Attorney General Kamala Harris to act as an example for the other 49 states by immediately releasing these prisoners and recommending alternatives to incarceration for the use, sale, and cultivation of marijuana.
Some non-violent marijuana prisoners, such as Antonio Bascaró and Jeff Mizanskey, have been imprisoned for non-violent offenses for much of their lives. Both fear perishing in prison without seeing a country swept with marijuana reform. HIGH TIMES hopes this petition can change the fates of these two men and the others still imprisoned for non-violent marijuana crimes.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in four states and the District of Columbia, medical use is legal in 24 others and 58 percent of Americans are in favor of legalized, regulated marijuana. This change in American perspective on marijuana, HIGH TIMES argues, is the exact reason why non-violent offenders should be released.
HIGH TIMES’ petition can be found at http://bit.ly/420Freedom. Signers are asked to spread word of the petition using #FreePotPrisoners across social media.