Governor’s Signature All That Stands In The Way Of

A parole board recently ordered the release of medical marijuana patient Will Foster contingent upon the governor’s approval. The board’s decision came days after an appeals court determined that Foster’s 93-year sentence for cultivating medical marijuana “shocked the conscience.” Governor Frank Keating has yet to okay the board’s decision, and The NORML Foundation urges medical marijuana proponents to contact the state office and encourage him to do so immediately.

An Oklahoma jury sentenced Foster in 1997 to 93 years in jail for cultivating marijuana in a 25-square foot underground shelter and other marijuana-related charges. Associate District Judge Bill Beasley ordered the sentences to run consecutively. Foster maintained that he grew the marijuana to alleviate the pain of rheumatoid arthritis; however, Oklahoma law does not accept the defense of medical necessity as a basis for acquittal on a marijuana charge.

Last month, an appeals court judge found Foster’s sentence excessive and reduced the term to 20 years. At Foster’s first parole board hearing days later, officials unanimously voted to release him upon approval from the governor.

Supporters of Foster, who was featured on NBC’s Dateline Magazine television series last Sunday, are encouraging Gov. Keating to follow the parole board’s recommendations and authorize his release. Those close to Foster maintain that his arthritis has become significantly worse while incarcerated and has spread to his fingers, wrists, and ankles.

“Will Foster is a loving husband and father of two children who has been wrongly imprisoned for his efforts to treat a painful and debilitating condition with medical marijuana,” NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup said. “The parole board acted in a responsible manner to correct this injustice. It would be unconscionable for Gov. Keating to permit this travesty of justice to continue. It is time for Will Foster to go home.”

The NORML Foundation urges concerned parties to contact the governor and voice your support for medical marijuana patient Will Foster. Contact Gov. Frank Keating at the following address:

Governor Frank Keating
State Capitol Building, Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(P) (405) 521-2342
(F) (405) 521-3317 or (405) 523-4224
e-mail: governor@oklaosf.state.ok.us
url: http://www.state.ok.us/osfdocs/gov_mail.html

For further background on the Will Foster case, please visit the May 1997 issue of Reason Magazine online at:

http://www.reasonmag.com/9705/col.smith.html

For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Adam Smith of the Drug Reform Coordination Network @ (202) 293-8340. Will Foster’s wife Meg is available for comment @ (918) 584-0027.