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Messed-Up Consequences of American Mandatory Sentencing Laws for Weed

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    Messed-Up Consequences of American Mandatory Sentencing Laws for Weed

    From a pro-legalization website:

    Twenty-five-year-old Weldon Angelos celebrated Christmas in federal prison this year ... just like he'll do every year until he's 80.

    Last month, Angelos was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana to undercover police officers. As U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell pointed out at sentencing, that's more time than he would have received if he had hijacked an airplane (25 years), beaten someone to death in a fight (13 years), or raped a 10-year-old child (11 years).

    In fact, the maximum sentence for all those crimes combined is less than the federal mandatory minimum sentence for a drug felony involving a gun. (Angelos was carrying a gun at the time of his arrest, although he never brandished it or threatened anyone.)

    The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case justified putting Angelos -- a first-time offender and father of two -- behind bars for 55 years by saying that he was a "purveyor of poison" who got what he deserved. (The "poison" was marijuana, which has never killed anyone.)

    Also, from an unknown source, a comparison of sentences for drug and non-drug related crimes and the sentences given:

    * A former University of Georgia student who pleaded guilty to possessing over a pound of cocaine was sentenced to 25 years in prison and fined nearly $2 million in Clarke County Superior Court on Tuesday.

    * Jodie Israel is serving a mandatory minimum sentence of eleven years, three months for conspiracy involving marijuana.

    * A man confessed to chopping off his wife's head and baking it in an oven was sentenced to eight years for manslaughter.

    * BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A man with a history of drunken-driving convictions received probation after he was convicted of causing a crash that killed two people.

    * VERNON, Conn. (AP) - A Colchester man with a history of drunken driving arrests has been sentenced to five years in prison for a car crash that killed one of his passengers.

    * A federal judge on Friday sentenced Oregon's most successful marijuana grower to 10 years in prison.

    * A Randall County jury sentenced former Amarillo radiologist John David Duncan to eight years in prison after convicting him of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Perlina ``Pat'' Rogers.

    * Gary Roth said he had been selling marijuana for $2,800 per pound and had been producing 8 pounds every two weeks, the complaint said. If convicted, the Roths could be sentenced to a maximum of life in prison.

    * Three people were booked for investigation of federal drug charges. If convicted, Shaun Turner, 29; Lori Handy, 44, of Arcata; and Jeromy Shull, 23, of Eureka, could be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison and fined up to $4 million each.

    * LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) -- Former Los Angeles Rams lineman Doug France killed another motorist in an alcohol-related crash nine years ago. He pleaded guilty in 1991 to alcohol-related vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to five years of probation with one year in jail. He served the sentence under house arrest.

    * A King County Superior Court judge yesterday sentenced a 52-year-old Renton man to 17 years in prison, noting that the courtroom was "full of victims" who all suffered in some way from the accused man's rape of an adolescent boy and molestation of two others.

    * Will Foster from Oklahoma was sentenced to 93 years in prison for marijuana cultivation and possession in the presence of a minor.


    So for those of you who are fans of the concealed-carry, you better hope that you don't smoke pot or get caught growing/carrying it, because even your legally bought and held firearm will compound your punishment to life in prison or damned close to it.

    It's fucking ridiculous that someone who KILLS people can get off with probation or house arrest, but someone who grows a near-harmless plant with medicinal value can be incarcerated longer than an arrested airplane hijacker.

    Oh, the stories I can tell! Angelos wasn't a Cat 0 or I offender was he??? Priors?

    More fun with the federal "plug and chug" sentencing scheme. Never understood why pot dealing was such a high level offense.

    Those other example they list, Steve, are most like state, not federal, prosecutions.
    Kung fu is translated as "stand around and talk."


      Does anyone know why weed was originally made a crime? Considering our recent racism discussions maybe its a good story:

      Right around 1910 or so the U.S. was getting alot of Mexicans "tryin' ta take our JOBS!". This country has always been so OPEN to new people and ways of life that our woundrous tolerance of the Mexican people fell onto what was their principle means of intoxication, which was not to drink alchohol but to smoke a plant.

      Very soon the first anti marijuana laws were passed and the police had a brand new reason to arrest Mexicans.

      Marijuana will never be legal in this country. Dream a dream if you want, but its never going to happen. This country is run by MONEY. Its a Plutocracy.

      Lets look at it this way: you can even be BLACK and kill your WHITE WIFE and get away with it as long as you have the green to spread around the right places.

      If marijuana were to suddenly to made legal do you have any idea what would happen to this country?

      First of all how is the goverment going to keep arresting black people for this harmless offense and keep them in jail not to MENTION stop them from voting?

      Thats the first part.

      Second, every painkiller, sleep aid, anti-depressant would immediately feel the hit as people started smoking a PLANT which gives them the very best results of ALL those things I mentioned while having no true negative side effects. The drug industry is powerfull in a way few people can imagine. They'll never let marijuana be considered a non-dirty thing to partake in let alone a legal one.

      Third, just how much of the DEA's funding is based on drug seizures? A good deal. Now how many of those seizures are for marijuana?

      Lastly, what the fuck would our country do when ALL THE PEOPLE in jail right now, primarily minorities, who have done nothing wrong are FREE? Where are they going to WORK? You want to see the U.S. numbers for unemployment, which are bullshit to begin with, SKYROCKET? The only way to make that number shoot up even MORE would be to send all the soldiers who do nothing in peace time home and make THEM find jobs too. Our unemployment would look worse than Europe by FAR.

      Marijuana will never be legal. Wait until the U.S. starts to stare down Canada for being lax with it. Thats going to be a nice little song and dance let me tell you and its coming soon.
      "All warfare is based on deception." -Sun Tzu, ca. 400BC

      Reverse punch Kiaii!!!


        My understanding is that weed laws were passed because marijuana's ability to be used as a cheaper method of paper-making (vs timber and the valuable timber industry/interests), food, and a number of other industrial/personal reasons threatened too many powerful interests. I've never heard of the racial anti-Mexican argument.

        As for the issue of industries preventing the accession of marijuana into ok-usage, I take a more optimistic view that as scientific evidence and public opinion continues to mount for the benefits of marijuana, politicians will have no choice but to adopt more-tolerant stances towards it. Old people are one of the most potent constitutencies in the US based on the size/strength of their lobby (AARP) and the proportion that turn out to vote on a local/federal/state level. A recent report came out that 3/4ths of seniors support the use of marijuana under medical supervision/prescription (but 3/4 of respondants also believe that pot is physically addictive):

        [quote]They also think it's addictive:

        Overall, 72 percent of respondents agreed "adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician recommends it." Those in the Northeast (79 percent) and West (82 percent) were more receptive to the idea than in the Midwest (67 percent) and Southwest (65 percent). In Southern states, 70 percent agreed with the statement.

        Though 69 percent of those age 70 and older said they support legal medical marijuana use, less than half agreed it has medical benefits. Seventy percent of respondents age 45-49 said they believe in the medical benefits of pot, as did 59 percent of those in the 50-69 age group.

        And while 74 percent of all people surveyed said pot is addictive, older respondents were more likely to think so: 83 percent of those 70 and older, compared with 61 percent of those aged 45-49.

        Generational lines also divided those who have smoked pot: Just 8 percent of those 70 and older admitted having lit up, compared with 58 percent of the 45-49 group, 37 percent of those between 50 and 59 and 15 percent of the 60-69 set.

        National polls in recent years have found majority support for allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

        Last month, the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether federal agents can pursue sick people who use homegrown marijuana with their doctors' permission and their states' approval.

        The Bush administration has argued that allowing medical marijuana in California would undermine federal drug control programs, and that pot grown for medical use could end up on the illegal market and cross state lines.
        Your usage of OJ as an operational definition of American plutocracy isn't valid or representative, but you bring up valid points as to the implications of a pro-legalization or even a middle-ground policy.


          You're correct with the part about rhe timber industry and hemp being a real threat. Thus came the Marijuana Tax Bill in 1937 which didn't really make hemp cultivation illegal but taxed it so heavily as to have the same effect, killing the U.S. hemp industry which was so ripe with unrealized promise.

          Its good to note that the original Commisioner of Narcotics, Henry Anslinger, was a complete nutjob who insisted the use of marijuana led to the insane asylum.

          Very few people know that Anslinger got that job because of his uncle, Albert Mellon who was serving in President Hoover's administration at the time. Good 'ol Uncle Albert got his nephew the job as founding director of the Federal Narcotics Bureau in 1931.

          What a coincidence that Uncle Albert shared banking interests with the DuPont corporation which made its money off munitions during WWI. Poor DuPont could no longer make the killing it made off weapons so it diversified. One of the fields it went into was synthitic oil-based fibers like nylon and it also had extensive paper mill interests.

          With the hemp industry booming it became apparent that it was a THREAT to these businesses and thus had to be demonized and removed from the table of competitors.

          Another guy with EXTENSIVE paper interests that would have been hurt by hemp production was a guy named Randoplh Hearst. He was a ruthless press baron and if you think you're familiar with him its because he was played by Orson Wells in "Citizen Kane".

          He likewise had many interests he needed to protect and the hemp industry was a threat to him.
          "All warfare is based on deception." -Sun Tzu, ca. 400BC

          Reverse punch Kiaii!!!


            Well, I used to be apathetic on this issue. But when I realized the immense number of benefits that marijuana has and the relative lack of negatives (most of the negatives are surpassed by those of cigarettes and alcohol, both of which are legalized), I became much more in favor of some form of legalized weed like how cigarettes are currently controlled/marketed.

            I've seen some fairly shifty science trying to debunk weed's effectiveness. One study attempted to say that weed caused schizophrenia (me = future psychologist, so this was interesting). However, the rate of incidence among the weed-smokers was nearly equivalent to the average onset of a regular population.

            Apparently, they've released the former scare-film "Reefer Madness" on DVD as a joke to hearken back to the days when smoking weed was a gateway to psychosis, murder, and the general destruction of civilized society.



              Great stuff on here about the legality of pot, as well as pretty much any other information about it you could want to know.

              Personally, I think it's bullshit that tobacco and alcohol are legal while cannabis is not.
              sudo make me a sandwich!


                This is yet another horrible travesty of justice. Righteous indignation and over-compensating lawmakers making decisions that do nothing to address the crime itself and horribly ignore the concept of the punishment fitting the crime.

                Unless, there were some other particularly rotten prior offenses, it only encourages a further vote of no confidence for the american judicial system.

                I'm curious how Ka-Bar feels about this one.
                A lie gets half-way around the world before the truth has time to get it's pants on. - Winston Churchhill


                  I can't speak for the LEO's on this site.

                  But I can share the opinions of some other LEO's I've heard from on the topic. They've said that they think it's ridiculous how criminalized weed is and how severe the penalties are based on their efforts. And like many other people, they have righteous indignation, or even fury, over the fact that a guy can end up in jail for years for essentially a victimless crime (if someone has weed that only they are smoking, and aren't pushing on others) while violent crimes such as the ones mentioned above can net only probation or a fine.

                  However, they have sworn to uphold the law of the land, and they perform their job.


                    If it's possible that a holy-super-plant exists, then it's cannabis.
                    Fury's Edge


                      You can wear it, write on it, fuel your engine with it, eat it, lubricate with it, as well as use it to relieve of myriad of medical symptoms.

                      Personally, I smoke it chronically whenever I fall ill.

                      Of course it's illegal.
                      Fury's Edge


                        I would also like to know how law enforcement feels about this particular subject.

                        I know many who find it pretty frustrating that they have to hold marijuana in such a low regard when you have something like crystal meth killing our country and ruining the youth especially in the midwest.

                        Of course even when California passes a medical marijuana bill it doesn't matter because the federal goverment will still arrest those people and ruin their lives for smoking one plant(cannibis) over another(tobacco).

                        Why has nobody gone to Nevada and closed down the brothels that are legal there but illegal everywhere else?
                        "All warfare is based on deception." -Sun Tzu, ca. 400BC

                        Reverse punch Kiaii!!!


                          I don't think weed is the world's salvation, but I do use it, and I don't think it should be illegal.


                            God...this country is so fucking stupid.. Anyone see the P & T bullshit on "The war on drugs?" That pretty much sums it up for me.

                            Numa ^ 3



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