Are you a victim of marijuana prohibition?

Dear friends:

“The fact is, today, people don't go to jail for possession of marijuana. I know you like to pretend it does, and there's a lot of misinformation about that. But finding somebody in jail or prison — for a first time nonviolent offender — for possession of marijuana is like finding a unicorn ... It doesn't exist.”

--John Walters, Bush White House drug czar
September 4, 2008

Drug warriors love to claim that marijuana prohibition doesn't cause harm to otherwise law-abiding citizens — because if they acknowledge the truth, their public support falls apart.

When we're able to present the stories of real people who have suffered under marijuana prohibition, we find that public indifference to the issue dissolves — and laws change.

If you yourself have been a victim of the war on marijuana users, I'd like to ask if you're willing to share your story. For instance...

  • Have you ever been arrested or jailed for marijuana possession?
  • Have you ever been arrested for marijuana possession and later charged with a more severe crime, like intent to distribute?
  • Did your arrest result in additional suffering, such as losing your job, home, custody of your children, or school loan?
  • Have you ever taken a drug test that resulted in a false positive? 
  • Are you a patient in one of the 13 states where medical marijuana is legal who has been arrested or harassed by law enforcement agents despite your state-legal status? 
  • Do you lack safe access to or are too afraid to use medical marijuana because of state or federal laws, although it could alleviate symptoms of your serious medical condition?

If so, please e-mail me at [email protected] to share your story. Please be sure to indicate what state you live in. We will not use your story or your name without your permission, and if you'd like to be anonymous, just indicate that when you e-mail.

While MPP can't offer individual legal help, we can turn your experience into ammunition as we campaign to change laws. Many Americans truly don't realize the impact that marijuana prohibition has on their neighbors, and individual stories are a powerful tool in helping change minds — and laws.

And if you don't have a personal story to share, but you'd like to support our work, please consider becoming a member of MPP today. We're 100% dependent on contributions from people like you to continue our work.

Thank you,

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $3.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

I was denied Employment because of Mrijuana Possession

My name is Jedidiah Craig

I am 29 years old and a graduate of the University of Miami at Oxford. This past summer I was offered a job selling health and life insurance for United American Insurance Corporation. This position was commission with a comany average salary of 45,000 dollars a year. I was also promised through company agents that I was to be fast tracked into management within the first year of employment. This was a gaurenteed 150,000 dollar a year position.

In order to start my new job I had to be licensed through the State of Ohio for soliciting sales in health and life insurance. I paid out of my own pocket over 500 dollars in costs for online classes, examination fees, and for a back ground check. My license application was denied by the Ohio Department of Insurance because of my marijuana possession charges. According to the ODI these charges, and these charges alone (apart from these possession charges my criminal record is clean), were enought to judge me "not in good standing in the community or of high enough moral character" to perform the duties of a licensed insurance agent in the state of Ohio.

I am offended by the notion that because I smoke pot the means that I am not in good standing with the community or that I lack moral character. I take pride in the fact that I am honest, good natured, loyal to my friends and my country, as well as being educated and highly motivated to succeed in life. As far as my standing in the commuinty I know for a fact that I can call upon several Ph.Ds, the vice president of a bank, and two vice presidents of Proctor and Gamble who can attest both to my good standing and my high moral character.

The most frustraiting part my story is that DUI convictions are not a disqualifiing factor in the ODI's licensing requirements. So if I had decided to be a drunk and put the lives everyone else on the road in danger by driving drunk I would be working right now instead of trying to figure out how to pay off 33,000 dollars in college loans. Marijuana Prohibition has cost me a job that if I had decided to make a 40 year carrier would have paid me at least 6 million dollars. My only fear is that the prejudice of the ODI is typical of government as a whole and that injustice like this will continue.

Ohio Laws

Did you include the details on your application?  Were you charged with a felony or a misdemeanor?

i have 3 possession charges

i have 3 possession charges and 1 paraphernalia charge.  all are minor misdemeanors.  i fully disclosed these on my application and provided all available court documents (a lot of good that did me)  i later learned that in Ohio these charges don't even form a criminal record. 

A night of alcohol vs marijuana

Complete loss of control is something that occurs when consuming "too much" alcohol. Everybody has has that experience, probably more than once, and along the way were obseneties, hostile behavior, terrible mistakes done without any hesitation that you would have never done with a clear head. etc... following a day of regret and constant intense nausea (the crash). I live in Manhattan and i can tell you first hand that the most irresponsible and immoral actions i have ever seen humans do or say were all results of someone being drunk. This substance is legal and socially accepted. Now take you 17-40 year old male or female who's smoking a couple of joints before their favorite tv show, a movie, a meal, or simply a hangout (all usually the case) and tell me how much harm or bad they can bring to the people around them vs the person who is going out to a bar, club or somewhere public (usually the case when drinking). It eats me up that I have to write on every application that I have a criminal record for smoking a joint senior year in high school.

Don't get caught three times

Under a law passed during the Clinton administraition if you are convincted of three drug related offenses then you will be denied FASA aid for life. Politicians in Washington need to remember that in a democracy the first duty of the government is to the people. What is more, the first duty that government owes to the people is education. To deny anyone FASA aide is a betrayal of the government's primary reason for existence and is a dis-service to all Americans. Furthermore, it is a clear case of government crafting laws to creat criminals instead of laws to stop criminals.

Marijuana Prohibition is a Violation of Due Process

The Fifith Amemendment to Constitution of the United States gaurentees that the laws passed by the federal government must treat citizens equally and fairly. However, we have today a situation where citizens are allowed to legally posses and consume alcohol while citizens who consume marijuana in any form are treated as criminals. It is clear in my opinion as someone who has consumed both substances that marijuana is no more of a danger, and in many way less of a danger, to society as a whole than alcohol. Furthermore, given alcohol's legally protected status, it also clear that American have the right to consume mind altering substances socially. And yet, thought the behavior of both groups are similar in nature and function, one group is demonized and the other is allowed to engage in thier behavior openly. There is a word in english that sums up this reality in it totality, hypocracy. Marijuana prohibition is a clear double standard. What is more, it existence has led, even in my own case, to citizens of high moral character being denied employment, education, and the opportunities to better themselves and their livelyhood. Citizens that use marijuana socially are simply engaging in their right to use a mind altering substance socially instead of using the current, and more dangerous, legally protected alternative.

I don't even use the stuff

I don't even use the stuff and I'm afraid of these armed gumm-t-goons might still accuse me of in public.

If like me you actually know someone who has had to prove his/her innocence (and the guy I knew actually did prove it, causing the charges to be dropped) then you begin to take a remarkably new perspective of things.

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