While Pennsylvania patients and activists struggle with the state legislature to get a viable medical marijuana bill introduced, one local government will consider removing criminal penalties for possession.
Associated Press reports:
[Pittsburgh] City Councilman Daniel Lavelle is expected to introduce legislation on Tuesday. It would give city police the ability to fine people found to be in possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana or eight grams of hashish.
The ordinance sets a civil fine of up to $100 and lets police seize the drugs. It would not supersede state law.
He said in a release that the bill will help end the consequences of unemployment, lack of education, and being stuck in the criminal justice system.
In a bizarre case of history repeating itself, another celebrity has been arrested in the Texas border town of Sierra Blanca. Sitting just 10 miles from the Mexico border, Sierra Blanca has an interstate running through it that has become quite a lucrative source of cash and publicity for the local sheriff. In the past several years, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg (I mean, Snoop Lion), and hacker George Hotz have all been stopped at the same check point and either cited or arrested for marijuana possession.
Now Fiona Apple has joined the club, and it is no laughing matter. Apple was caught with a small amount of marijuana and hash, but it is more serious than it seems. In Texas, possession of any amount of hash is treated as a felony. The amount Apple supposedly had on her bus is punishable by at least two years in prison, and up to 10!
Texas law punishes hash and other marijuana concentrates much more severely than simple marijuana, even though they are essentially the exact same thing aside from the potency. Anything under four grams gets you the penalty Apple is facing, but anything over that can get you 20 years in prison, and over 400 grams can put you behind bars for 99 years.
Texas is one of the few states that make this dubious distinction, but it isn’t the worst. Last April, Oklahoma passed a law making manufacture of hash punishable by a life sentence.
We’ll keep you updated, but it looks like this talented singer could be doing serious time for merely traveling through the wrong town carrying a substance that is safer than alcohol.
Note to celebrities or anyone traveling in a fancy tour bus: STAY AWAY FROM SIERRA BLANCA.
The Oklahoma Legislature just passed a bill that would make manufacturing hash a felony punishable by up to life in prison! You read that right – life in prison for a substance that has never caused an overdose death.
This is costly – if five people are convicted under this new provision and spend just 10 years in prison, the result is a bill of over $1 million to taxpayers. It’s also just plain stupid. Here are some other crimes and their maximum punishments under Oklahoma law:
* Domestic abuse – 1 year
* Drinking and driving with a child in the car – 4 years
* Aggravated assault resulting in “great physical injury” – 5 years
* Assault with intent to kill – 5 years
* Kidnapping a child – 5 years
* Second degree rape – 15 years
* Sexual battery of a child – 20 years
Apparently, the Oklahoma Legislature thinks that making hash, a concentrated form of marijuana, is deserving of more punishment than all of these crimes that involve actual victims who have suffered actual harm.
Please talk some sense into Governor Fallin and ask her to veto HB 1798.