Twenty Three Million Marijuana Arrests Since 1937: We Reap What We Sow

We reap what we sow….
On the verge of a three night PBS documentary series on the abject failure of Alcohol Prohibition (one of the taglines for the documentary is ‘a look back to when a law made America lawless’) an email from a victim of the modern prohibition that has totally failed affirms the obvious: Cannabis Prohibition must end. We must stop arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating ,drug testing, labeling for life and causing great physical, mental and economic harm to citizens who choose to use cannabis for relaxation or as a therapeutic agent.
NORML receives dozens and dozens of emails, letters and phone calls DAILY from citizens experiencing the waste, cruelty and ineffectiveness of Cannabis Prohibition vis-a-vis the criminal justice system. Of course, with over 850,000 cannabis-related arrests per year (with nearly 90% of the arrests for possession-only) there is a never ending reservoir of citizen-government horror stories that the organization can highlight.
Want to know what can happen to you or your children during modern America’s Cannabis Prohibition era if caught with a mere trace of cannabis?
Please find below an extremely well written email received by NORML last night by a young woman in Kentucky who has unfortunately experienced the lancet’s tip of Cannabis Prohibition. I respect her intelligence, moxie and recognition that what her own government did to her was wrong and that the policies have to change to stop what really has become nothing more than citizen abuse by Prohibition-loving law enforcement agencies. Regrettably, elected policy makers continue to not respect the general population’s desire for degrees of cannabis law reforms:
According to most national polling today, approximately 75% of the population favors medical access to cannabis; 73% support decriminalizing; and 45% support legalizing it like alcohol.
With clear public support increasing every year for substantive cannabis law reforms, when will politicians start listening more to their bosses—the voting public—than from the Prohibition-loving law enforcement agencies that created Cannabis Prohibition in the 1930s and who today vigorously defend an antiquated policy that causes more harm than good?
Is it not shortsighted to the point of reckless that the producers and consumers of alcohol and tobacco products do not also recognize what kind of hurt from the government is coming down the pike for them too—using the same force of law and legal precedent established to rationalize 74 years of Cannabis Prohibition—once their products enter into the government’s crosshairs of political incorrectness?

—— Forwarded Message
From: Brittany M.
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 17:42:03 -0400
To: <norml@norml.org>
Subject: PLEASE READ! Why I Support NORML!

Hello, fellow good-doers.  Since recently discovering NORML via internet research, I have become elated to realize that there is a group of serious people ready to make serious change regarding marijuana laws.  I am a citizen of Elliott County, Kentucky-an extremely small town in northeaster KY.  I believe that an abundance of citizens stand to gain a whole lot from your organization, if they can all be made aware of its existence.  Kentucky’s ridiculous marijuana laws have caused me so much turmoil and pain that I couldn’t resist contacting you PERSONALLY to tell you my story.
I am seventeen years old now, but not in high school.  It’s not because I’m lazy or a drop-out, but because I graduated two years early, as a sophomore.  Not only have I always maintained straight-A’s, but I was accepted into Morehead State University at only sixteen years of age!  I had everyone’s support, and I was far beyond excited to finally be academically challenged.  My life had done a complete 180 at this point, because it wasn’t too long prior that I was in shambles…
I suffer from anxiety and major depression.  When I was thirteen, I attempted suicide and began my journey into the world of psychiatric “help”.  I was medicated with Zoloft, Trazadone, and at least five other anti-anxiety/antidepressants that I can’t recall the names of.  Some of them made my hair fall out, while others caused me to sweat and shake uncontrollably.  All of them required a two-week period of adjustment upon starting, during which I would vomit more than I care to speak of.  Nowadays, I am prescribed to take two Prozac capsules every single day, and I may very well have to take them for the rest of my living days.  But, admittedly, marijuana helped me overcome the side effects that were crippling me. My first day on campus, in January of 2011, was the best I’ve had.  For the first time in a long time, I felt normal. I went to class, I met a boy, and everyone wanted to be my friend.  The next day, it was time for me to move into my dorm room.  I arrived well before my classes would begin, but I would never make it to class that day.  An anonymous tip had been called in to the campus police department that I was a “pot head”.  I had a debilitating anxiety attack while I watched three uniformed police officers tear through all of my belongings, throwing them aside as if they were garbage, and never once asking me, “What is wrong?”, or, “What are these medications for?”.  Minutes later I was whisked away, bad-mouthed by the Dean of Students (who had just been commending me on my ACT score of 30), and told that I was to leave and could not return until the Fall of 2013, a whole year after my original class, who I had long since surpassed, would graduate and move on.
In August, after months and months of torture-seeing everyone else being happy and college-bound-and being tied up in Kentucky’s legal system, I had my final court date.  I was administered a supervised drug test, for which I passed all but THC, and sentenced to 7 days in Boyd Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Ashland, KY  I am fully aware that it is meant to be a punishment and not a vacation, but the facility was filthy and very poorly maintained.  I witnessed two staff members mocking a much younger boy who was obviously mentally handicapped.  I was forced to drink from a glass that had insects and dirt festering in the bottom.  On top of all of this, my mother was provided with paperwork stating that I was to be placed on a mandatory orientation that would last for 48 hours, which I was unaware of until I came home.  However, within the facility, we were told that orientation was no less than four days.
I rested very well on night number four, having finally spoken to my family.  However, the next day I awoke to a brand-spanking-new, and very rigorous exercise regimen, introduced to us by a male employee who I was seeing on this day for the very first time.  During this regimen, I had an anxiety attack and everyone was asked to return to their cells while I was left to the floor, gasping for air and being closely watched, but otherwise unattended.  We ate our breakfast in the festering cesspool of a cafeteria, and then a female worker led us, not to our block, but to the gymnasium for more exercise.  Sometime during this activity, I began to feel weak, and weird.  Something totally foreign came over me, and I was scared.  I raised my hand, and waited to be called on, as was protocol, and quickly informed the staff member that I thought something was really wrong.  She simply replied that if I were to vomit, I would be cleaning it myself, and told me to run six laps for speaking out.  I’m not completely clear about what happened after that, other than that I hit the concrete floor, hard.
I awoke much later, in a daze, and projectile vomiting ensued.  I was loaded into an ambulance, accompanied by the female worker who continuously asked me if I had medical insurance.  I was far too shaken, scared, and sick to pay her much attention at the time.  Here I was puking into a bag that the ambulance attendant provided me, and she wanted to know about my insurance policy?  I was whisked out of the ambulance and into the ER, with shackles around my feet.  All I could think about was my mother, and so I asked if she had been called.  She had not.  I noted a nearby clock on the wall of my hospital room read 9:45.  I was scanned, poked, prodded, and MRI-ed for what felt like an eternity, until they finally informed me that I had suffered an acute heart attack and may also have mitral valve prolapse (MVP), a heart condition that caused me synocopal episodes, and that I would need to be back the next day for more tests.

Still too weak to walk, I was wheeled in a wheelchair to the front door, where BOTH the female and male staff members from BRJDC were waiting with big smiles and a bag of fast food for me.  Still, they were curious about my insurance  My family has zero income, and so I explained to them that I have a medical card provided to me by the state.  We pulled back into the facility, and I was put in a holding cell instead of my regular room.  I tossed and turned and listened to muffled voices from behind the door, until finally an unfamiliar staff member came to me with a box of my clothes, and announced to me that I was going home.
I ran to my mother and hugged her.  I was seeing sunshine for the first time in five or six days.  It felt like a miracle.  In the car, I saw that it was 3:15.  I asked my mother why she didn’t come to the hospital, and she told me that she had only just been called, and rushed right over.  She had no idea what had happened to me.  Our brief reunion was devastated in the following weeks with doctors and tests, hospitals and neurologists, who finally put me on two new medicines that I will, once again, most likely have to be on for the rest of my life.
BUT MY QUESTION TO YOU IS THIS…how much marijuana was I arrested with that caused me all this turmoil?  Back in January, back on campus, back in the campus PD…they weighed the crumpled cellophane from my pocket and the digital scale read 0.2 grams.

My college career, my mental stability, and above all else, my health, have been irreversibly damaged.  I feel as though NORML can make sure that nothing like this happens to anyone in a situation similar to mine ever again.  I wouldn’t wish this travesty on any mother and daughter, and I know that you would not either.
Thank you for listening,
Brittany M.

98 thoughts

  1. This is an amazing story and a prime example of what our corrupt policies on marijuana do to people that use it for relaxation and medical purposes. Marijuana helps millions of lives every day in the US alone and it’s obscured how such a wonderful thing has actions put against possessing it so vigorously enforced.
    I hope NORML doesn’t mind me using this letter in my blog. I don’t have many readers but the message still gets out to a few more people.

  2. I am so very sorry this happened to you Brittany. The pain and suffering offered up by our legal system to American familys is as unacceptable as it is immeasurable. The majority of true crimes commited against our citizens by law enforcment end up going unnoticed just as people in power get away with helping their friends and family members off the hook for having commited acts far worse. I commend your bravery to speak out in search of answers and can only hope you find justice.
    Good luck to you and those who love you.

  3. I suggest we flood the mayors office, their police station and their newspaper with all sorts of e-mails registering our disgust with their fair town.

  4. what happened to you is by far more criminal then what they charged you with!! I myself have had a run in with the prohibition police. while I can’t say that I know how it feels I can tell you that they tried to use a new Law to charge me for A dime bag under the old law. I ended up fighting tooth and nail to avoid a 6 month sentence. the officer who pulled me over didnt even need nor did he have just cause to do so thanks to another new law here in iowa. I know what it feels like to be arrested under laws that in the very essence of thier existence are nothing short of crimes by the government against the people. keep fighting the good fight and one day these attrocities will finnally be a thing of the past. I wish you well!!!

  5. WTF!!! Sounds like the Jvinile facility you are in, including the guards, are in violation of several federal regulations . . . I would definitely contact an attorney the also specializes in marijuana treatment for patients. It seriously looks like you have an unbelievably good case and you very well may win a whole lot of money . . . I’m almost ashamed to be associated with this country – especially with so many politicians with their heads so far up their asses they need a winch to get them out!!

  6. The longer the government chooses to have marijuana prohibition, almost inevitably, more overall usage will attain in the long-term.

  7. Sorry Brittany, my best go to you. I also got kicked out of culinary school for possession. just for treating my anorexia. Who did we hurt? Even in a decriminalized state, the cops charged me with as much as they could.

  8. As a medical marijuana patient suffering from anxiety like this girl as well as other problems, I cried after reading this. I want to vomit that this is still going on, to millions of other people as well. And this is a young girl too. A week in jail. Wow!

  9. awesome email, i cant say that there is anything to add besides myself being tortured on probation for failing drug test only for “hemp” and nothing else i dont drink or do any other drugs, in fact i dont even have a history of trying other drugs!

  10. Check out the latest reply to my video. This reply comes from a 17 year old kid in Canada. The brainwashing continues. Go figure.

  11. Brittany, keep your head up! We (patients) know the hell you’ve gone through. It is very sad that an actual medicine that works is subject to national prejudice. I know your fight. Keep going forward!

  12. Contact them now!! Join us in a mail blitz on the Elliott County News:
    from: http://www.mondotimes.com/1/world/us/17/7451/22173
    “The newspaper is published once a week on Friday.
    The News was founded in the 1940s. It covers Sandy Hook and the surrounding communities of Elliott County, Kentucky.
    Web site not found at last check
    Contact Information
    Greg Kinner is the editor of the Elliott County News.
    Telephone number: 606.743.3551
    Mailing address: PO Box 222, Sandy Hook, KY 41171”

  13. are we the peoples polititions really so hard hearted as to let a bright persons future be thrown away over 0.2 grams of a plant…this speaks volumes for the state of our country and the safety…health and well being of its citizens. theres really only a couple ways to stop this madness but sadly one of those 2 is in itself madness…saddens me to see us at this point and it seems to just keep getting worse….havent we hit bottom yet…should it be time to start the long climb back up the deep dark hole that has been created by both goverment and society….when will it finally end…how many more like this bright girls futures must be destroyed ultimately underminding the very principles and ideas this once great nation was founded on

  14. I wonder how many people have died because of the prohibition of marijuana. Of course those numbers would be swept under the table.

  15. I know how you feel with the entire jailing system, I was put in jail and put on 2yr probation for having one gram.(as well as spending about $13,000 on lawyer/courts fees and eventually having to drop college to work) My advice to you is that since you are still young like myself you should really try harder to help change things like this ridiculous system.

  16. are without voice & will not be heard because of big corporate greed .The people do not run this Country . We are now seeing social inequaliteies, corruption,injustices . All these are the beginning of things that are unfolding in this Country . Wall Street is now WAR Street . We kill for democracy but this is lies . We kill for greed, dominance, corporations, control over oil & the world and they feed us lies to justify the mass murders, genocide & injustices .

  17. Another victim of prohibition and it’s unintended consequences. My question to all that read this is what is it going to take for us to regain our freedom from our over reaching government? How many more lives will be ruined in order for those that support prohibition to be satisfied? Cannabis was here before all of us and it will be here long after all of us have died. The repeal of cannabis prohibition must be accomplished in order to save Brittany and millions of Americans!!! The change we really need!

  18. I just saw the first episode, and I had no idea!
    I wonder how episode 3 will end. Will Ken Burns mention marijuana prohibition and Nixon’s failed war on (some) drug users?
    If he doesn’t, I’m sure the parallels between alcohol prohibition and marijuana prohibition will be lost on almost everyone. The majority of americans have no idea that they’ve been brainwashed about drugs in general and marijuana in particular.

  19. On a bright note, the general news in the media has been relatively positive in favor of opposing the “drug war”. But now we should call it like we see it: Prohibition.

  20. you thought you where in a free country…….but then you find out your under the control of rich industrial tycoons by means of the gun. They are officially profiting at the expense of peoples lives and for the goverment to be participating in this kind of behavior is despicable. they are harming the american public by monopolizing industriesand from the way its looking possibly upholding the illegal drug market to suit other countrys and the profits they rake in from the illegal traffic trade. to state it plainly i see enslavement of the masses aimed toward the rich gaining profits. do we really lets this occur in our “free country”

  21. Brandon, yes! We need to use the word as often as possible! This is a word with emotional impact AND historical meaning to people.
    PROHIBITION is the word I will be using from now on.

  22. stories like this make me hate my country. the terrorists should have blown up the ignorant southerners.

  23. The worst part is that many of the so-called “treatment” facilities are under the thumb of judges and their ilk. Here in Colorado, a judge was found to be guilty of sending non-violent youth offenders to a facility owned by none other than HIS WIFE!! I wonder how many of our upholders of justice line their pockets with taxpayer dollars at the expense of people like Brittany. Makes me want to vomit.

  24. wow i must say that you are the reason why these laws have to be changed now and just saying if your and educated cannabis consumer of america try applying at the university of california-Berkeley they have divisions devoted to research to back up all the medical marijuana claims and are doing even more research to implement industrial hemp once again like in 1619 Jamestown
    i will never forget you and your story Brittany M.
    just fight the good fight and hopefully our paths will cross for we the people of the united states of america , in order to form a more perfect union , establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity will remind people what is to be american and want the american dream and i hope everybody here wants those things yes? and what happened to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness? i think its about that time we ask the people we put in office to do as we say when we say cause thats how we the people of the United States of America roll man.

  25. Owen, I like the youtube vid, but you can’t take comments without a grain of salt… obviously there are ignorant fools out there who wish to remain that way. Idiots will forever remain so because they are stuck in their belief: the world is flat, gay is a choice, marijuana is a devil drug, etc.

  26. Stay strong Ms. Brittney,
    I will soon face a similar story, hopefully not nearly as unjust as yours, when I go to face the Tennessee judge in a month. Will my scholarships be lost? Will my future degree in psychiatric nursing, for which I’m currently in year four be useless? What about future employment? I’ve had the same job for 5 years, maintained a 3.5 GPA, no prior record, or even so much a speeding ticket since high school. I’m the ideal citizen, yet I still have to prove I’m not a criminal. They tell me to plead guilty, and that’ll it’ll all be fine after 6-12 months of counseling and drug screening. I say let me see your evidence, cause I’ll have my day in court!
    “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”-MLK

  27. i too live in kentucky i was forced to stay in jail for 2&1/2 months awaiting a revocation hearing due to being kicked out of an inpatient treatment for of all things using a trash can which i believe was just an excuse to be rid of me since i was on probation not parole and this 6month to 1year long program is designed for parolees and kentucky has recently been forced to release 45thousand inmates. i was at said inpatient treatment for simple marijuana use this waste of my time, tax payer $, and space for the sad souls on drugs that cause physical addictions & want the treatment is deplorable.

  28. What do you expect from a country founded on slavery, genocide, greed, and war? It won’t be long before all of this crumbles around us. And I don’t mind.

  29. Ashamed & furious that you would go through something like this. I’ve dealt with the mood drugs for years in my family, and they are absolutely frightening.
    All I could possibly recommend is that you move somewhere more tolerant, get the *MEDICATION* you prefer and need, and pick up the pieces to your life.
    Good luck.

  30. To all you well meaning but naive posters:
    Yes, it would be ideal for Brittany to reclaim some dignity and retribution by seeking legal counsel, but unless you have money NO lawyer will take your case. They have public defenders but only when you are incarcerated (and I can tell you those are worthless – they have too many cases & are often sub-par lawyers).
    What Brittany needs is a pro-bono lawyer and financial support from organizations who are passionate about legalizing marijuana to fund her court case (filing fees, and court fees add up people).
    This is how we fight back, we help re-claim the lives of our fellow comrades and make a stand. We take cases to the Supreme Court, we demand that the public stare into the face of the victim they have dubbed a “junkie” and hear the truth: she’s a motivated individual with hopes & dreams, who due to serious medical conditions uses marijuana in order to be a productive & healthy individual.
    I know there are lawyers out there who are outraged by this, put your money where your mouth is – take her case, help right the wrong.
    Justice should not be reserved for those with the right amount of cash on hand, and from personal experience I can tell you that our court system does not support equality.
    ~ A. Renee

  31. You see it’s time to stop Discriminate against people like her! It’s her like our choices to make on our own without outside interference. Nobody has right to force to Discriminate against other. Remember the Golden Rule, do to others as we would others do to us!
    It’s unamerica to ruin others lives needlessly. She’s smart like some of us to choose safer drug, cannabis rather than harmful medicines. It’s time to change its classified from schedule 1 to 3 ’cause of medical potential, safer than alcohol & many industrial use!

  32. dear britney i feel for you so sad you had to go through this my 29 year son is in lake county jail florida. his sentence 180 days with no chance of early release that im aware of his two kids really need him to be there for them anyway the cops showed up at his house late one nite around 11pm when he answered the door there was a pipe with maybe the the same amount or less 0.2 gram that gave probable cause here in florida so he was not aressted that nite he was given a court date pled given probation with drug class witch he failed to complete anyway judge issued bench warrent he was then aressted after pay probation until he lost his job not to mention his kids 5& 9 needs him for support but i guess the state needs their pound of flesh first does the punishment fit the crime hell no but here in florida probition makes alot of money for the so called well to do system

  33. also so happens his set release date is 4/20/13 and you can bet he will probably celebrate that day with ! things like this really make you sic the system so screwed you can be on opiates by a doctor legal ruin your health well being lose all you have and big pharma will let you die its a damm shame how we judge people the gov and state att.could,nt give a sht long as they can get their big 70 billion budget per year all to run the big wheels . any way guess florida will be the last to ever admit it,s really all about the money they can get to keep canibus scedule 1 probition rules here in florida so don,t forget come on vacation leave on probation back on violation sunshine state rules ! the true motto of florida got to love it right

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