Life For Pot: The Forgotten Victims

The Marijuana Lifer Project’s Cheri Sicard joins Mnar Muhawesh on ‘Behind the Headline’ to explain how some people continue to serve lifetime sentences for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses even as marijuana legalization sweeps the country.
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    MINNEAPOLIS — Adult recreational use of marijuana is now legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, and 29 states have embraced some form of medical marijuana legalization.

    There’s even a pot plant cultivation competition at the annual Oregon State Fair.

    By 2015, legal cannabis had become the fastest-growing industry in the United States, and it’s expected to hit $7.1 billion this year.



    Despite this progress, 640,000 people were arrested last year for violating marijuana laws.

    And while marijuana-related offenses aren’t punishable by death, some offenders are hit with other penalties with effects that can ripple throughout a lifetime, like the loss of a job or public benefits.

    Others, like Farrell Scott, are serving life sentences for violating federal marijuana statutes.

    And marijuana laws don’t seem to be enforced equally. The the ACLU reports that black and white Americans use cannabis at roughly the same rate, but arrest rates for black are far higher.

    Here to discuss some of the often forgotten victims of the U.S. drug war is Cheri Sicard. She’s the founder and executive director of the Marijuana Lifer Project, a nonprofit organization fighting for an end to the criminalization of marijuana and the release of those imprisoned for marijuana-related offenses.

    Learn about millions of Muslims march against ISIS, the Flint water crisis & life in prison for pot on the full episode of the Behind The Headline:

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    • artemis6

      I really liked the history lesson about Muslim history…. : ) Are there any women Muslim notables ?

    • Harry

      It is long overdue to finally legalize marijuana. Marijuana prohibition is just as much a failure as was alcohol prohibition under the Volstead Act 1919-1933. All people who are in because of marijuana offenses should given full Presidential pardons. All people who are currently in prison because of marijuana convictions should be immediately released with full Presidential pardons. Then with the legalization of marijuana and emptying our prisons with of marijuana offenders, we can then have space to fill our prisons with violent offenders, the real criminals who really belong in our prisons!