Thousands sit in prison for crimes whose laws have been abolished. What now, marijuana amnesty?
Ten years ago when marijuana laws began to change in this country, like many others I often thought of the tens(hundreds?) of thousands of people who were locked up in our nations jails for crimes involving or relating to marijuana possession. These people are our children, our brothers, sisters, parents, nephews & nieces. This is our society. Now that our nations cultural progression towards additional freedoms has brought us to the precipice of marijuana becoming federally declassified, we have hard questions to ask ourselves. How to we talk to our children? How will drug testing be handled in the future? And what do we do with our family members that are currently locked up in jail for crimes that are now, no longer crimes? It’s time for marijuana amnesty. Or is it?
CNN’s On Board
There’s an excellent article on CNN by Mike Riggs talking about the pros and cons of amnesty for drug crimes, and more specifically, marijuana.. CNN, despite its recent desire to chase tabloid stories as aggressively as real news, has been a staunch, and yet subtle, supporter easing marijuana laws. They’re now on part 3 of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s ‘Weed” series on marijuana and its viable medical effects.
Riggs brings up excellent point after excellent point. With hundreds of thousands of cases, can the court system even handle doing this? Is society prepared? Does the overall federal drug policy need to be reformed?
It also raises more questions than it mentions. If clemency is granted to great numbers, how is this process of releasing them funded? Are these prisoners going to be able to go through any transition or educational program or will they just be set free to fend for themselves? Can revenue from marijuana sales be used to cover the costs of the programs? Will parolees have they convictions overturned? What kind of scale will convictions be judged on, and who makes this scale?
And last but not least, will parolees be allowed to work in the legal marijuana industry? Our society still has a lot to figure out. Marijuana legalization is going to be one very wild ride. Its 2015 and half of Arkansas is still dry counties for alcohol, so federally legal MJ in all 50 states will take some time. but in states where they’ve decided to be progressive and allow responsible adults a little more freedom, shouldn’t we plan to let our brothers and sisters back into our society? Traditionally when wars are over, pow’s are set free and sent back to their home countries.
Why should this war be any different? Have a voice? Let it be heard.