10 of the Harshest Sentences for Pot in the U.S.
Continued from previous page
In Oklahoma City, Leland James Dodd was given two life sentences, plus ten years, for buying fifty pounds of marijuana from undercover officers in a "reverse sting." Oklahoma is not alone in handing out life sentences for buying marijuana from the government. In Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, William Stephen Bonner, a truck driver, was sent away for life without possibility of parole after state narcotics agents delivered forty pounds of marijuana to his bedroom. Raymond Pope a resident of Georgia, was lured to Baldwin County, Alabama, in 1990 with promises of cheap marijuana; he bought twenty-seven pounds from local sheriffs in a reverse sting, was convicted, and was sentenced to life without possibility of parole. Pope's criminal record consisted of prior convictions for stealing televisions and bedspreads from Georgia motels. He is now imprisoned 400 miles from his family. He has three young children.
Years behind bars is not the only way marijuana offenders are punished. Other consequences of marijuana prohibition are often far more devastating than the use of the drug itself. Students can lose their financial aid; the tiniest bit of weed can lead to a child neglect charge (and removal of children from the home); and drug tests can cause skilled workers to be fired and lose their government benefits. The punishments for pot do not fit the crime, especially when most Americans want marijuana legal. But until we demand an end to 75 years of pot prohibition, we will continue to spend tax dollars prosecuting marijuana criminals.