Marijuana Prohibition Leads to Death of Young Man

On July 2, Eric Perez turned eighteen. On July 10, his family mourned his untimely death.

Mr. Perez suffered a medical emergency while being held at a detention center in Florida. Despite vomiting and crying for help, Mr. Perez was left to suffer for over six hours before receiving medical attention. Tragically, by the time he was seen by emergency personnel, it was too late. So what was Mr. Perez doing in a detention center to begin with? The non-violent act of possessing a small amount of marijuana.

On the night of June 29, three days before his eighteenth birthday, police stopped Mr. Perez for riding his bicycle without a night-light. Police searched Mr. Perez and found the marijuana. Mr. Perez was on probation for a “years old” robbery charge and was cuffed and sent to a detention center. It was in this detention center that he breathed his last breath.

Let’s engage in a thought experiment here. Say Florida had a taxed and regulated system of marijuana distribution for adult, non-medical use. In that scenario, Mr. Perez is never arrested for possessing a small amount of a relatively harmless drug. He may even be praised for choosing to ride his bicycle as opposed to driving a car. Perhaps he’s given a ticket or sent to drug education for underage possession of marijuana. Either way, in this hypothetical, Mr. Perez is not in jail during his medical emergency, thus providing him a better chance of receiving prompt medical attention. Mr. Perez could still be alive.

Even a policy that simply decriminalizes the possession of only a small amount of marijuana would have been preferable. Fourteen other states have already removed the possibility of jail time for possessing a small amount of marijuana and replaced it with a simple civil violation. If Florida were one of them, Mr. Perez would have been given a ticket and sent on his way. Again, all indications point to the fact that had his medical emergency happened on the outside, he would have stood a much better chance of surviving.

Unfortunately for Mr. Perez’s family, we do not live our lives in hypotheticals. Policy decisions carry with them very real consequences. When it comes to our current marijuana policy, those consequences tend to lean towards the tragic — lost lives, destroyed families, and government waste. Until we replace our failed marijuana policies with more sensible and less destructive alternatives, we will continue to see stories like Mr. Perez’s.


71 Responses to “Marijuana Prohibition Leads to Death of Young Man”

  1. While Mr. Perez’s death is tragic and very unfortunate, it is not the lack of legalization of marijuana in Florida that caused his death, it was the lack of prompt medical attention in the detention center that lead to his death. I have no real stance on legalizing marijuana, so I am not arguing one way or the other, but I don’t think that making false attributions is the way to win the argument.

    If marijuana was legal, Mr. Perez may have been given a ticket, and then had his medical emergency while driving and could have caused an accident, or been alone in his house, or a myriad of other circumstances that still cased his untimely death. Or he might have gotten the attention he needed and lived. That is not something that can be predicted by the handling of the drug charge. Trying to use this situation as an argument to legalize marijuana is not an effective argument, just an attempt to sensationalize the issue.

  2. I do support marijuana legalization. However, I agree with the previous post. He probably went to jail as a result of probation, not weed. If we are serious about ending marijuana prohibition, then we better express our concerns with facts, not sensational circumstances.

  3. KH, although i agree with your view of the story, the fact of the matter is had he not been arrested chances are he wouldve had the medical care he needed as opposed to being neglected while complaining of his ailment during lockup. Did he suffer in lockup? Yes. Was he given prompt treatment? No. Could he have been treated had staff in jail decided to respond? Yes. Are there greater chances he could have survived had he not been caught with weed? Theres no question about that. Fact of the matter is he could still be alive had they not arrested a bikepedaling pedestrian for a minor infraction of possessing a small quantity of pot.

  4. i completely agree with KH and JP. Whether or not this man would have lived had he not been arrested for breaking the law is pure speculation. For all we know, he would have rode his bike home and o.d’d on meth. You simply cannot speculate, because we have no idea of anything about this guy, including what ailment he suffered from. I’m VERY pro-marijuana legalization, but this story doesn’t help the cause one bit. What was his medical emergency? It might not be “relevant” to the pro-marijuana debate, but it’s completely relevant to any case you’re attempting to build saying that “Prohibition led to his death.” This is weak sauce!

  5. Well, I agree with you alex, but the fact of the matter is; the more sensationalized an idea is, the more people seem to back it. We have to do whatever we can: all is fair in love and WAR, which is what our government has chosen to call this prohibition. As long as we just remain civil…

  6. Firstly, if you have no cannabinoids in your own body please raise your hand. Human bodies make cannabinoids. They regulate our bodies function even on a cellular level. Why is something our bodies make illegal?
    He had his medicine on his person. When he was arrested his medicine was taken from him. Sensational to me is the Liberty lost to allow such an arrest to happen. Also sensational is that his medicine was taken from him. Is believing he was familiar with his condition and how to treat it too far of a stretch? Sensational too that he was denied medical assistance from the industrial medical complex while he was in a cage.
    He was denied Liberty.
    He was denied life.

  7. Follow this closely please. The feds, dea will twist this and blame marijuana as cause of Mr. Perez’s death.

  8. I’m all for legalization but this story is stretching it pretty far. It sounds like the problem is with medical attention and response to those in detention centers, not marijuana policies. The argument that he could have lived (better chances) had he not been arrested for weed is a little ridiculous. We don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t of been arrested. He could have died 5 minutes after, on his way home. By this logic, let’s blame the inventors of airplanes for 9/11. If those assholes would have never made planes, they wouldn’t have been able to fly em into buildings!

  9. A probabtion for a ‘years old’ robbery charge AND he’s in criminal posession of marijuana?

    1. the two bits of information we get about Mr. Perez show me that he has little to no respect for the law to begin with.

    2. Why was he riding around at night on a bicycle?

    3. The primary cause of his death was not the arrest – which was probably for violating probation, NOT the marijuana – but was indeed the lack of prompt and efficient medical care in the detention facility.

    You want to get up in arms about something? Rally behind the move to privatization of our prison systems and the resulting lack of appropriate staffing to ensure prompt medical treatment.

  10. A “years old” arrest for robbery, then getting caught with a small amount of weed. Seems like Mr.Perez has no respect for the law. On a bike with no lights, he could ride up behind someone, whack them on the head, then rob them. The police know this and he was stopped. It’s Mr.Perez’s fault he went to jail!! Noone elses!! If he obeyed the law, no matter how much he disliked it he would still be alive, most likely! Place the blame of his death where it most matters, on himself!! All his actions up to his death were his choice, noone forced him to ride the bike without lights, noone forced him to carry weed, and noone forced him to do a robbery “years ago”… It was his choice and he made a bunch of bad ones!

  11. Those arguments are stupid. If someone handcuffed you to your damn bed, and you died from a medical emergency because you couldn’t get to the hospital or call for help, nobody here would disingenuously claim that your death wasn’t because of being chained to the bed, and nobody would claim the person who chained you to the bed was not responsible for your death from that medical emergency.

    Mr. Perez died because he was locked in a damn cage where nobody bothered to get him any damn medical attention, and the reason he was locked in the cage is because he violated stupid, inherently immoral laws prohibiting marijuana.

    Marijuana prohibition lead to this young man’s death. Period. The headline is correct, and anybody playing the picky little naysayer is either a supporter of prohibition, or an all-too-common serial complainer within the movement who spends half their damn time whining and finger-wagging at the people who actually get off their @sses to DO something.

    A kid is DEAD here, locked up because of personal possession of marijuana, and your response to seeing this is to GRIPE about a damn headline?

    And just for the little picky-picky dummies who will still blather on about the headline, the headline says “leads to” which is accurate — it doesn’t say “causes,” or “as a direct result” or anything else, so if you want to whine and wring your stupid little fingers over the headline (while ignoring the major point about a DAMN KID being dead, which apparently doesn’t bother you too much), then you can take the whining and finger-wringing elsewhere because the prohibition of marijuana lead to the kid being locked up, which is why he couldn’t get medical care to save his life, so it LEAD TO it.

    So shut up already, for Christ’s sake.

  12. The people responsible for this guy’s death should be put on trial for involuntary manslaughter or depraved indifference. There is no excuse for locking someone up, then depriving them of necessary medical attention. Someone should be held accountable and their negligence lead directly to the avoidable death of a young man.

  13. How about he doesn’t break the law in the first place and he doesn’t end up in a situation like that. Just sayin.

  14. how about the fact that he was stopped & searched because he didn’t have a headlight on his bicycle? this whole sad affair begins with that obscenity. i’m fortunate enough to live in nice white america where the neighborhood cop doesn’t do that to the neighborhood kid – and knows he wouldn’t last long on the job if he did it more than a couple times. here in connecticut, we recently decriminalized marijuana. i was just commenting to a friend yesterday that the greatest immediate outcome of decriminalization is that since it is no longer an arrestable offense, suspicion of possession will no longer provide cause for officers to play out that all too familiar scene of several minority youth splayed out on the curb in handcuffs while their car is torn apart because the officer caught a whif of something.

  15. I understand the concern that the kid died while in custody for a small possession charge but it doesn’t change a damn thing in the pro marijuana argument. This was a failure to provide necessary medical attention by a center. Articles like this do not contribute to our goal of medical marijuana being legalized. If anything it shows that some present partial portrayals of illegitimate arguments. People, if we are going to present valid arguments for pro legislation let’s give all of the onfo, not just what provokes stupid arguments.

  16. @ dan – you missed the point. the argument isn’t whether or not he broke the law – no one is arguing whether or not he broke an existing law. this article is debating the merits of the law itself & presenting the hypothetical that the young fellow would still be alive today if possession of a small amount of marijuana wasn’t an arrestable offense. try another read and see if you catch that nuance.

  17. I agree with Anita, being so vague about his medical emergency is too likely to lead prohibitionists to try to twist around the facts and claim that the marijuana somehow helped to lead to his death.

    I also agree with the comments that the main problem, of course, was the lack of medical attention while in jail. Had he been arrested but provided with medical attention, he hopefully would have been fine. The lack of medical attention is the unconscionable part here. Yes, your theory that he may still be alive if not for marijuana criminalization is a plausible theory, but still too attenuated to be more than that.

    I am curious about the unlawful search and seizure laws in Florida though. Is a minor traffic infraction really enough for probable cause for a search? Or was it so just because he had a record? I wonder if this was an unlawful search to begin with.

    I suppose the main point of the article is that small amounts of marijuana should be treated as a civil, rather than a criminal, infraction, and should not run the risk of detention or jail. This I certainly agree with.

    (MCS, what’s the problem with riding a bicycle at night? AJ, the light issue clearly appears to be a traffic issue, not a charge that he was attempting to rob someone by not having a light.)

  18. How about police start giving a crap about people who they bring to a jail. I know that people are just a number to them but these numbers have lives and families.

    I understand that some people are jerks and true criminals but a guy put in and forgotten about for a probation violation? Then he dies because they did their job putting him in a cell and no one cares until he takes his plea deal or gets sentenced or gets a trial.

    If you’re not willing to watch and take care of the people being arrested, STOP ARRESTING SO MANY PEOPLE. Especially for nonviolent crimes and things like Marijuana. This is one of the big reasons I would support legalizing it, so that we stop wasting resources on things like Marijuana and focus on violent crimes and real drugs like Meth and Heroin.

    Prohibition didn’t work before and it still isn’t working now.

    It just creates an underground distribution system, creates violent crime and untaxed monetary exchange.

  19. Dan & AJ……you are both stupid. If everybody just OBEYed the law…then the U S of A wouldn’t be here; because the Tea Party of 1773 would not have happened. The Berlin wall would still be standing….if everybody just followed the law. Women wouldn’t have the right to vote & Alcohol Prohibition would still be around if everybody just…..followed the law. I got no problem respecting and/or obeying the law—BUT, an unjust law, is NO law at all.

  20. What this is is gross neglect on the police’s part. Why does it take that long to get an emergency unit to the jail? This story makes me sick to the point of puking. Damned over zealous cops.

  21. And if you are the christian bible-thumpin’ sort of thinker,…well consider the story of “Daniel in the Lion’s Den”. Daniel rebelled against an unjust law……and if memory serves, Daniel was right to do so……..

  22. These pigs who arrested him cauzed his death and need 2 b arrested themselves.part of the problem iz the marijuana laws and then there’s the issue of the terrible conditions in jails.marijuand nees 2 b legal regardless of the age of the smoker.

  23. This is a sad case, but you’re setting up a faulty premise. You’re arguing for a child to be found with marijuana and released. That WILL NOT HAPPEN. He will be held, and released to his parents. Even if marijuana were completely legalized for adults, it will still be illegal for children. Even still, it would, in all likelihood, represented a probation violation and he would have STILL found himself in the detention facility.

    Further, who is to say that his case would have been treatable? The linked article is sketchy on details. Perhaps he had an aortic aneurysm, which would have been touchy to treat even if it were caught before it became critical.

    Simply put, this is a tragedy, but it’s not a tragedy marijuana played a significant part in. It’s a broken penal system driven by a for-profit company that puts profit ahead of caring for inmates. THAT is the tragedy here, not marijuana law reform.

  24. He was on probation/parole and he rides his bike with pot in his pocket. He is the blame for his own demise, not the law. Was pot used for medication? If so he should have had a perscription. The do gooders at it as usual, it’s never the law braker’s fault. Give me a brake.

  25. First of all, this was a case of racial profiling. He was a young black man riding his bike after dark. For this simple reason he was stopped, harassed, and then searched. Riding his bike was not probation violation, the illegal search and seizure is the reason he was re-incarcerated. I live in Florida, and have been through the legal system for marijuana possession. It cost me my driving privileges for almost 2 years!! I had to become self employed because I could no longer find anyone who would hire someone with possession charges on their record…..amazing!! The good ole’ boy system in Florida is outdated and antiquated. We are no longer living in the 1940’s, but yet we treat such minor offenses as if it is murder……No, murderer’s can walk after 3 or 4 years, while someone charged with possession, can receive 5, 10, 15 years for possessing a harmless PLANT!!

    Someone needs to kick Florida’s ass and get this bullshit fixed. I agree with the above post, the police who arrested him, need to be arrested also. Police in Florida, will not give up until they have something they can arrest you for. It is a simple case of harassment and it is sad that it had to cost someone their life. These cops wanted to find a reason to get him back into the system so they could add more charges to this kid, further ruining any chances he may have had to be successful one day.

    Remember America, even our President smoked pot, and probably still does for all we know!!! This is a senseless law that does nothing more than ruin lives of innocent people. Guns are man made, they are used to harm people. Meth is man made and kills people. Weed has been here from the dawn of time, harms no one, but yet we are charged as terrorists, murderers, rapists, robbers, etc….

    Ridiculous!! Florida, as well as the whole country, needs a total reformation. This needs to be decriminalized once and for all. Alcohol kills more people than anything else we have on earth. More people die from alcohol abuse than those that die from cancer, aids, murder, etc……..

  26. Um. “Years old robbery”? That’s what you want to make a big deal about?

    That means he did it when he was between 12 and 15. HE WAS A KID! As the mother of a 16 year old who is one of the ONLY kids in her groups (notice plural) of friends with no shoplifting charges, I assure you “robbery” is something it seems every kid goes through in their turbulent teen years. Even some of my friends, my father and his friends and my mother’s friends were shoplifters and petty theives in their teens. Seems like this young man was behaving pretty damn normally for a teenager.

    He TURNED 18 while in detention. STILL A KID upon arrival. Still a MINOR.

    Those of you saying this person “clearly has a history of making bad decisions…”. Show me ONE teenager, just ONE who consistently makes good decisions or at least one teenager that NEVER makes a bad decision in regards to their respect for the law.

    Skip school? oh, well, please put them in a detention center and let them die.

    forge your parent’s signature for a skipped school day note? FRAUD! Go to jail and die.

    I don’t even care if he was arrested for probation or weed. I really don’t, not after reading some of these comments.

    I hope those of you making these remarks are not parents. YOU should be ASHAMED of yourself if you are. I hope your children are PERFECT. I mean, because let’s face…there really is such a thing as a perfect HUMAN. *note heavy sarcasm please*

  27. If he just robbed a bank, was arrested, then died in detention, would you say, “If only robbing a bank was legal, then he wouldn’t have died. His chances of survival would have been greatly increased if robbing a bank was legal.”?

    The facts are, he knowingly committed a crime, regardless of how fair you think the law to be. Compounded by a previous crime, he was sent to detention. End of story.

    The headline should have read, “Known criminal dies in detention after no medical care.”

  28. So the article states he turned eighteen on July 2, but does not state what date he died, nor the cause of death.

    Arrested June 29th cuffed and sent to detention center. Was it this day that he was vomiting and crying for help? If so, perhaps he had other, more harmful drugs (e.g. Crack cocaine) in his possession which he ingested when the police officers were within sight. This would explain his “medical emergency.”

    I am a proponent for legalization of possession but I feel this article was not accurately reported as very few facts were given in the story regarding this unfortunate circumstance. The author seems to have used this weak link to marijuana possession as a baseless stepping stone without allowing readers the opportunity to see the entire picture. Due diligence…. do it.

  29. People are disgusting if they are in anyway blaming Mr. Perez for his death. There are multiple ways of looking at how wrong this all is. One person comments, “He probably went to jail as a result of probation, not weed.” Wrong. He went to jail because some cops decided to stop him on his bike because he didn’t have a night-light. Instead of a friendly “hey buddy, you need to get a light on that bike”…or maybe a less friendly, “hey, if I see you again without a night light, I’m going to have to give you a ticket.” No, these cops felt it was a means to question and search this young man. How free are we when a cop can harass you for riding your bicycle? People on this blog are so easy to give up their freedoms. I can hear it now, “the cop can search me because I wouldn’t have pot on me” – pathetic that they’re completely ignorant that they’re allowing themselves to be violated by a complete stranger who should have no right to touch or search them in this situation.
    And another person states, “he is the blame for his own demise, not the law. ” Frightening…please don’t have children. While his arrest was completely unnecessary, once he was taken under the control of the officers, he is now the responsibility of those officers and the state that employs them (which btw, means our tax money will be used to compensate this family for their horrible loss). Had the boy collapsed and died suddenly, you might have a point, but he was vomiting and pleading for help for one hour, no, two hours, no…over six damn hours. Who were these officer “serving and protecting?”

  30. Well after finding the original article linked above, and doing my due diligence, I want to retract my previous post as the information I was looking for was there.
    I still feel that the author should have summed up the timeline of events so that we could easily have a grasp on the events.

    Date of arrest: June 29th

    3 hours prior to detention – Eric smokes marijuana (self admittedly)

    Were other drugs used prior to detention?

    Date of admission to detention: Not reported

    July 10th 0130 Eric complains of headache and hallucinations
    Date of death: July 10th at 0751
    Cause of death: Not reported

    The original story focuses on the lack of medical care due to the superintendents orders to staff to not call 911.

    Should Eric have been in jail? Yes, unfortunately he got caught breaking the law while on probation, in Florida of all places.

    Does the original article paint the complete picture, no, and it is a shame as it would be nice to know if he was sent to detention on the evening of the 9th which would support my conjecture that he was under the influence of a more dangerous drug.

    It would also be nice to know the COD.

  31. Mark comment 18: You are completely correct. first and foremost, prohibition is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court made the argument correctly that prohibition against alcohol was unconstitutional. if we are supposed to be a nation of laws based on the Constitution then the argument should be made and supported by the fact that prohibition is and will always be unconstitutional.

    Alcohol and alcohol related death and injuries far surpass all the other drug related death in the world. Simple facts are that where the money trail leads for profit there the law will remain.

    here is a link to show the point that where the money trail leads.

    now to address the point made about the death being related to the incarceration. I was in jail for 4 days on a false charge. Setup by the FBI, ATF, DOJ. Was denied my medical treatment legally prescribed by the Dr. No it was not marijuana. This denial of treatment caused a severe reaction from a lack of treatment of a chronic condition requiring treatment legally prescribe medication. This denial due to JAIL policy, not the law, was the reason given for denial of treatment. The result was a condition being irritated by denial of treatment, causing another condition to be caused by refusal to treat. I now have a life threatening heart condition brought on by refusal to treat. So I now have that going for me.

    Wake up people, this is not about the law or what is right or wrong, this death was caused by a failed system who denies a basic human right, the preservation of life. it is all about money folks. Follow the money!!!

  32. If “weed” had not been unlawful to possess, this young man would still be alive today. Although he was killed by the staff, let us not forget it was Marijuana Prohibition was the impetus that placed him in the facility to begin with; ergo, it was Marijuana prohibition that lead to his death at the hands of negligent staff.

  33. Did he get arrested for no headlight or marijuana possesssion, if it was for possession then this is another Drug War travesty. Barney Frank has introduced legalization at the federal level. Google MPP…Select MPP Home Then select Barney Frank, Ron Paul propose legislature that would end federal Marijuana prohibition. There is a letter to urge your legislators check it out if you’re serious!

  34. The BIG Law Enforcement industry will never allow marijuana to be decriminalized. It’s way too profitable to arrest non-violent “offenders”, lock them up and shake them down if they want to get out of jail.

    It’s all one big criminal racket. The lawyers, judges, cops and prisons are the biggest criminals in American society today. They are the ones who tear apart families and kill people for no reason other than that it is profitable to do so.

  35. I agree with Frank @ 39, and I too retract my previous post.
    There were more information on the original article.
    Providing emergency care to people behind bars is very costly and negligence are very common because of that. It is getting worse.
    Federal marijuana prohibition laws are the major problem.
    Eric Perez is a victim of bad marijuana laws. What would happen if he was caught with just cigarettes?

  36. Whether or not the Marijuana laws were to blame for this young man’s death is a moot point we can debate endlessly. The fact is that his death is a Criminal Justice issue and the Drug War, the Private Prison Industry, Racial Disparity in the enforcement of laws and the court system are also Criminal Justice issues.

    The legalization of Marijuana is a much deeper issue than that of availability of a medicine to sick people and freedom of individuals to use a substance if they want to. Marijuana Prohibition is a tool made available to virtually anyone that wants a way to hurt someone for being black, different, ugly, too smart, not smart enough, etc. and a tool that should not even exist.

    Sure, this kid was violating probation, but the fact that he made a mistake mean that he is no longer allowed to enjoy life or make anymore mistakes? Should police be allowed to let him die in his cell because he had the audacity to be a kid on a bike and smoke some grass after having gotten in trouble? What is wrong with people that makes them think punishment is more important than compassion or just plain human decency?

    I never thought I’d say this in a forum on this site, but there are a lot of people posting here that would probably have smoked a joint while watching a “witch” burned for having pot without some priests permission back in the Golden age of authoritarianism.

    Maybe this story would play better on a an ACLU or Amnesty International web site and maybe that’s where it should be. But, as a group you people are being subjected to some of the most far reaching, inescapable, and unfair treatment in history; it seems to me more of you would be able to empathize with someone that lost their life over a set of really stupid circumstances that should not have been able to exist in the first place.

  37. I do support legalization of marijuana and find the story sad. However the writer neglected to tells us what the medical emergency really was the the young man died from. Depending on what that was time may have only been a matter of seconds, minutes, or hours til his death. It was bullshit that he was arrested for a little bit of m.j. but being arrested was not what killed him.

  38. This doesn’t surprise me. My wife’s aunt used to work as a detention officer and just 2 days ago she said that the very first thing they had classes to teach detention officers was to be mean, calloused, and cold! The laws say innocent until proven guilty, but we all know that in the “police state” in which we live policemen treat you as guilty until proven innocent.

    We are rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell!

  39. We should all take a close look at this.These’s kind of stories really do make me sad.Please note there are people out in the world that should not use drug’s.But pot is silly,can we afford to contine Harry Andslingers belief that pot is dangerous.Tragically another young soul got cut down in his prime over a plant.I hate hearing stories like this.The police need to start using there own discration when it comes down to pedially case’s involving small amounts of pot.Better yet,make it legal.Watch the drug cartel’s scramble like mice hiding under neath a piece of trash.It comes down to the men in blue.Let’s go after real criminal’s there’s plenty of them.

  40. i think this is valid to the cause by pointing out the faults of the system-a system were neglect lead to his death
    “retched cry’s” as in asking for help and having the ability to ask for help and neglected this is a fault in the system a system he should never been put in in the first place-on his own he had the ability to seek help-how is this not murder.if i held you captive for what i thought was right and you died in my care ,even if it was a legal citizens arrest i would be up for murder charges.this is about accountability and victimless crimes

  41. I think Kevin B. (comment 18) makes the strongest point, and much more effectively than this article actually. Anyone who doesn’t see that is just being supercilious and obtuse. I have two teenage daughters who have made their share of impulsive mistakes and I don’t live in a safe white neighborhood. I am much more afraid for their safety if they were ever arrested than I am about them smoking pot. Marijuana criminalization manifests distrust of law enforcement and civil authority in general, which is a tragedy because in my neighborhood we could use some good cops.

  42. Google MPP…Select MPP Home, Then select Barney Frank, Ron Paul propose legislature that would end federal Marijuana prohibition. There is a letter to urge your legislators check it out if you’re serious!

  43. Marijuana is and should remain illegal. The man was on prohibition and was arrested for violation of those conditions.
    Nowhere was it mentioned what he died of…
    Of coarse ‘maybe’ swallowing a fistful of bags of crack didn’t help his condition… Or should we now consider legalizing crack cocaine.

    Rest his soul.

  44. He had been convicted of robery a year before. He wasn’t knew then to the legal system or the slammer. Being on probation one might be very correct in supposing that regardless of the legality of pot, it is a violation of his probation for “robbery”. He wouldn’t be in compliane if he had pot or alcohol or meth, regardless of the legalities involved as per individual choices.
    That big ego chip that told him he could rob and that he could smoke pot, that he could ride a bike regardless of regulations.
    His big ego even allowed him to stupidly think he was healthwise bullet proof. His ego hung him.

  45. I’d like to emphasize one part of the story where it states that the arrest was made due to him being on probation. Violation of Probation is a very serious offense. Who is stupid enough to go “Well I’m on probation, but I’m sure nothing bad with happen if I get caught with a substance considered illegal by the same institution that has me on probation for a criminal act…”

  46. This story has been twisted by mpp seems they do that alot i dont think its right the weed had nothing to do with his death it all comes down to the corrections centers not giving a crap about the people they are being paid to take care of hey criminals are people too the staff of this place should be tried for murder but im sure nothing will happen thanks uncle sam!

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  48. Sounds to me like the reason the kid went to jail may have been the fact that he had robbed somebody. At the very least, the police certainly found out about the other offenses only because he was riding without a light. So you’ve got three offenses–robbery, weed, and unsafe operation of the bike.

    Those are the reasons he was in jail. He broke the law, at least three times. You can be in favor of legalization and still not advocate breaking the law. You can make a case that there’s nothing immoral about smoking weed, however illegal it is (I pretty much agree), and that there’s nothing immoral about riding a bike at night without a light (probably not, but it was stupid and could’ve caused an accident, injuries, and/or death). But robbery? That’s not some benign decriminalization kinda thing. So the kid broke the law, with offenses ranging from the serious to the technical.

    The reason he died in jail was the failure of the jail staff. Period. Not marijuana laws, not mean policemen. Bad staff. What were the police supposed to do, ignore the law? Ignore the probation? What?

    In addition, if this was a private detention facility, all the motives are wrong. This is a growing threat that few people know about. Private detention is for profit; profit dictates that you cut costs anywhere and everywhere you can, including fewer monitoring devices, fewer staff, less-qualified staff, you name it.

    If you want to lay blame somewhere for the fact that he was jailed, lay it on the kid himself. You don’t have to break the law because you disagree with it. You can become part of a movement to change it, and obey it until it’s changed. You also don’t have to rob somebody or break other laws.

    If you want to lay blame for the death somewhere, lay it on the staff and/or protocols at the jail–and if that was a private facility, lay it on the legislators who allow this abomination that has no obligation whatsoever to the public interest, but only to profit.

    I happen to be for legalization, too, and I’m terribly sorry for the kid and his family. I’m just saying, there’s more to the situation than fits your agenda.

  49. Randy–

    I’ll bet five bucks this had nothing to do with “Uncle Sam.” This was either a city or county facility, probably not a state facility, and almost 100% certainly not a U.S. government facility.

    In fact, I’ll bet there’s at least a 30% chance it was a private, for-profit jail. (See earlier comment.) These things are an intolerable cancer.

    You want to blame somebody, blame politicians (especially, but not always, Republicans) who run on “all taxes are bad” mythology (and thereby underfund jails) or “privatize everything because government sucks” mythology (and thereby turn over legitimate government functions to private corporations who have no obligation to the public interest at all, whose only concern is profit–which means they’ll get by with the lowest level of staffing and security they possibly can).

    Nix that, actually: Blame the PEOPLE who vote for politicians like that and who give them a receptive audience, who indulge themselves in the myth of government-for-nothing. If there were no audience for this nonsense, politicians wouldn’t be able to use these kinds of appeals. Collectively, we get exactly the government we deserve–and most of them have learned that the something-for-nothing appeal is just like candy with crack in it.

  50. The whole prohibition thing is just a little old. What is it, almost 100 years now? For a drug that produces less problems and addictions than the one that was legalized back in the 1930’s:

    “Alcohol and alcoholism have been a contentious topic in America since the colonial period.”

    There will always be those who abuse a substance, hell, there are people who overdose on Tylenol for crying out loud, but Tylenol is not banned.

    Mr. Perez was out on his bike at night, probably scored a 1/4 of mids or regs and was taking it home to smoke in the privacy of his own home. Even if he did smoke it, vaporize it, or whatever in public, he would still cause less problems than some of the other drugs he could have been found with.

  51. The Constitution says that “probable cause” is required for the police to “request a search warrant”. It does not say that probable cause is sufficient to search someone. “No warrants shall issue, except upon probable cause, and shall particularly describe the premises to be searched, and the items to be seized.” All these neanderthals are so happy to ignore the Constitution I can only hope that some day they are arrested and abused because they had a tail light out, and realize that the Constitution would have protected them. But they don’t deserve the protection because they are sheep ready to be sheared.

  52. And why should the state be involved in this legalization of plant material, any more than it should be in my decision to read what I so wish. It seems to me that the knife cuts both ways, whether from a conservative or liberal-statist angle. Either way, what I choose to ingest, in the privacy of my own home, should not be a public health and safety issue, but it is.

  53. I just want to say that it’s about time to stop the madness. Those of us who have been studying and following this Marijuana or Cannabis issue knows that it dose not make good sense. For those of us who have been educated on this issue. Have, learned about the wonderful medical and industrial benefits of this plaint.

    Cannabis offers our country a great opportunity to bring about needed financial windfalls for our country and stop the madness that’s running rampant in our legal system. People are loosing there lively hoods just for smoking Cannabis, a substance that has no documented life treating or negative harmful side affects. A substance that you can’t overdose on, a substance you can’t become addicted to, a substance that helps people live a better life. Cannabis has more positive benefits to it than negative ones.

    There needs to be much more education about the benefits of Cannabis. The good that cannabis can really do for people and industry in America and the world, it needs to be made available to the people, now. America has been berried in a conspiracy of negative information and lies to keep this plaint illegal and off the market from the highest levels in our government. I believe there is a conspiracy to keep this plaint off the market and illegal, a plaint that actually dose more good than harm.

    Cannabis has been proven to have known medical benefits and huge commercial applications. Than, what’s the problem!!!!!

    Power to the People (Let them smoke Cannabis)

  54. OMFG so many smart comments….. so many dumb ones. So many different angles to see this story from. My first thought was that mabey he had the pot for his medical condition. I find weed to be very effective for GERD and other such things. How dose one sort the BS from the truth?? Listen to your heart and find what you believe, and be the change you want to see in the world. Actively persue the goal from conceptualization to actualization!! Blessed be

  55. “It also takes the focus away from Perez’s death, the abuses in the system and the corrections that need to be made to prevent this from happening again. ” If Cannabis, not Marijuana which is the name given to the plant by racist law makers, was legal like alcohol, a much more dangerous mind altering substance, this kid would have made it home that night and would have been able to get medical attention sooner. His parents would not have allowed him to suffer because he’s just another pothead teen. The staff at that facility should and deserve to be locked up themselves. As for the “the corrections that need to be made to prevent this from happening again”, stop the long disproven reefer madness! It’s insane to keep something addictive like alcohol that can and does kill people legal and not give people a safe alternative to recreational mind altering substances.

  56. I don’t really think that this is a very solid case for marijuana legalization. This was simply an avoidable tragedy, involving an unfortunate young man, because some security guards failed to remain alert and make the sound judgment to call 911 sooner.

    Though it’s tragic, this is hardly a solid reason for legalization.

  57. perhaps he could of called the people who really protect and serve communities, the paramedics, or a family member could of called. but he was arrested and died due to lack of medical treatment. the only thing this man did wrong that day was not have a reflective light on his bike. no one forced him to break the law? this website is here because it recognizes laws prohibiting marijuana recreationally is unjust, but prohibiting it medically is pure evil(it should be up to physicians not congressmen to decide what is medicine especially when there are medical opiates legal in all 50 states). this is a weak story to fire up legalization though, and the fact that he was connected to a robbery charge years before doesn’t help either, although i do not know the full story

  58. He was only 17 years old, and was arrested by yet another over-zealous cop. Why don’t these cops just join the Army since they so badly want to be the bullies they are? Do not tell me that NO ONE here has EVER broken ANY law cause if you do, I will flat out call you a liar. I feel so badly for his family.

  59. There are no manmade species. In the beginning, all species of plants were created, and God declared them all good. The U. S. government, in its infinite arrogance, decided it knows better. That’s why hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted to control this plant–prohibition is a jobs corps program for jackboots, thugs, and people who hate every living thing.
    I’m discouraged by people who say, if he had not broken the law, he’d still be alive. This is the worst imaginable kind of cowardice, the voice of people with no moral sense. They seem to equate the State with the voice of God. Such foolishness gave the world Nazi Germany. Is that the direction we’re headed? Are Americans losing the ability to think like free people? It seems a large number of them are closet fascists already, just waiting for a dictator to emerge, and tell them how to think. Americans are historically the people with the courage to think for themselves, but I’ve seen a steady erosion of that spiritual heritage as the years go by. I’m afraid for us.

  60. I think the question here is, would a guy go to jail if he is missing a reflector on his bycicle while on parole? If no then if weed was legal none of this would have happen.

  61. OR the office could have pulled beside him and told him to stop riding in the street without a light and left it at that? Why did things get to the point where he was searched?
    Not really enough details to draw an educated conclusion but ultimately, had he not encountered an unneccessary diversion from his original path he would not have died not being able to get himself some medical help.

  62. Not to mention. Who knows, maybe just the entire encounter was what caused a serious episode. Would be enough to cause undo stress on anyone.

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