Thursday, November 21, 2013

 This is a link to the ACLU call to action.  The Report released on Nov 13 spotlights many of the non-violent offenders serving sentences of Life without Parole for marijuana who are on the      Life for Pot web site -

Please join the ACLU's effort on behalf of inmates serving sentences of Life without Parole for nonviolent offenses.  This is a petition asking the Justice Department to review these sentences.

End the affront to justice

Shoplifting three belts. Siphoning gas from an 18-wheeler. Selling a single crack rock. These are just some of the offenses that can get you sentenced to spend your entire life in prison, until the day you die, with no chance of ever getting out for good behavior.
Thousands of people have been sentenced to die in prison for nonviolent offenses because of overly extreme mandatory sentencing laws that take away judges’ discretion. In case after case we reviewed, the sentencing judge said on the record that he or she opposed the mandatory sentence as too severe but their hands were tied.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This important report was released by the ACLU November 13, 2013.  The report discusses the unimaginable fact that there are 3,278 individuals in US Prisons serving sentences of Life without Parole for nonviolent offenses.

The individuals on the Life for Pot website are featured in the report.

Friday, August 9, 2013



End Mandatory Minimums and remove marijuana from the
Schedule of the Controlled Substance Act

We have the right to expect our government to be fiscally responsible and respect the civil liberties of its citizens






Beth Curtis
Life for Pot
100 Hale Rd
Zanesville, OH. 43701
Ph.# 740 452 2867

July 10, 2013

Att: Public Affairs Priorities Comment
United States Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle NE
Suite 2-500 Lobby
Washington DC 20002-8002

                                                            RE: Sentencing Guidelines for United States Courts

Dear Chairman Patti Saris and Commission Members,

 This testimony is submitted by the organization LFP – Life for Pot

LFP has distinct and significant concerns with mandatory minimums.  We represent a group of Federal inmates who were convicted of non-violent, marijuana only offenses who have received Life without Parole in the federal system.

These inmates have no violent priors and no violence in their current cases, yet they are serving sentences that some consider worse than death.

Amendment 1.
Amendment 2.

In these cases, the controlling length of sentencing should be limited by a maximum, not a minimum sentence.  The Texas legislature did this by reducing the term for drug and property offenses from a maximum of 10 years to a maximum of 5 years.  Mandatory minimums make no more sense than mandatory maximums.

Non-violent marijuana offenders are serving sentences of Life without Parole while Venture Capitalists and entrepreneurs are developing business plans to manufacture and distribute the same substance.  Marijuana remains as a schedule I drug as states continue to legalize it in varying degrees.  These are difficult contradictions and demean the system.

Sentencing for conspiracy is overly broad and encompassing and also too easily prosecuted when the prosecutor's job is facilitated by sting operations, co-operating witnesses and mandatory sentencing.

These sentencing circumstances are not universally respected.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Julie Stewart has a piece in the Huffingtonpost about Presidential Commutation.  The US Justice Department issued a report to the United States Sentencing Commission encouraging them to make recommendations that would decrease the inmate population in Federal Prisons.  Commutations could compliment this effort and also point the way to sentencing that would save money, speak to justice and mercy while not jeopradizing public safety.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This post is about Deputy Attorney General James Cole - Remarks from the Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative "Champions of Change"

I find it very disturbing that one of the solutions to the problem of children whose parents are incarcerated would not be to end egregiously long sentences for non-violent offenders.  Hundreds of millions of dollars would be saved and children would need far less government support in the form of counseling, and could print and distribute far fewer booklets "Mommies and Daddies in Prison"

Rather than spending tax dollars for grants to "enhance parental and family relationships for incarcerated parents" children would actually be able to have an on going relationship with their parent.

These remarks about what the government will do to help children demonstrates an myopic view of of saving American families and saving American taxpayers.

By reudcing incarceration for non-violent offenders - we could start with non-violent marijuana offenders - we get a double bonus - Children with intact families - save money by not incarcerating their parents - save money by not needing to give services to children to help them adjust to having a parent incarcerated.

~ Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Thank you Tonya [Robinson] for that introduction and for your work on this issue and this event.  And congratulations again to all of the Champions of Change being honored today.  Your work is exemplary as you have dedicated your time and energy to speak up for a unique and vulnerable group: our nation’s children who are dealing with the consequences of a parent’s imprisonment.

It is estimated that more than 1.7 million children currently have a parent in prison, and many more have parents who are in local jails or lock-ups at any given time. As we’ve heard today, addressing these children’s needs requires a coordinated effort of multiple government agencies and social service entities to implement collaborative approaches.  This Administration is committed to providing support to children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers.  Through an interagency working group led by the White House, agencies across the Administration have been taking a hard look at the issues these children, their caregivers and their parents confront and how we can provide more support.  Today, we’ve announced a number of efforts to promote the well-being of these children -- from the time of their parents’ arrest to their parents’ reentry into our communities.      

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

 Great article by Nick Gillespie at Reason

NSA Scandal: Why We Get the Police State We Deserve. And What We Can Do to Fix That.

I've got a new column up at The Daily Beast about how Democrats and Republicans can both love Big Brother if he's got the right party affiliation. Snippets:
In the first flush of stories about how the National Security Agency is surveilling American citizens, one stomach-turning revelation hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: We get the surveillance state we deserve because rank political partisanship trumps bedrock principle every goddamn time on just about every goddamn issue....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

OPA on "Denied or Closed Without Presidential Action"

This post by PS Ruckman on his great blog Pardon Power provides some insight on the operation of the the Office of the Pardon Attorney.  Many thanks to Professor Ruckman for his diligent work.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Congressional Abdication

Great article on National Interest. org by Senator Jim Webb
We will miss him in the Senate

Friday, May 10, 2013

Marijuana Education/Legalization: 5 Senior Citizens Serving Life Without Parole for ...

 Another post about Five Senior, non-violent, marijuana only offenders serving sentences of Life without Parole for selling marijuana.  This is a travesty that should be corrected by a Presidential Commutation.

Marijuana Education/Legalization: 5 Senior Citizens Serving Life Without Parole for ...: 5 Senior Citizens Serving Life Without Parole for Pot Should five non-violent offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans incre...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 2 of the Hemp Parade Continues…

 Jonathan Miller - The Recovering Politician is in Washington lobbying for hemp legalization.  Thank you Jonathan. 

Day 2 of the Hemp Parade Continues…

 This is an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal about the Safety Valve Act of 2013 

Ending mandatory minimums is long overdue.  Families Against Mandatory Minimums  is the national activist group that has worked specifically to removing mandatory minimum sentencing.  They are supported by a long list of organizations fighting for civil liberties, ending the drug war, prison reform, and fiscal responsibility.  

It is heartening to see this thoughtful editorial by Douglas Berman and Harlan Protass in the Wall Street Journal.

We just lament that this is not the end of the road for those non-violent marijuana offenders who are serving sentences of Life without Parole in the federal system for selling marijuana. 

These inmates will get relief only from retroactive legislation or Presidential Commutation.  We hope this is a giant step forward.


Berman and Protass: A Saner Approach to Sentencing

'Mandatory minimum' laws need an overhaul. Congress is ready. Will the president make good on his promises?

There are few topics on which leading Democratic and Republican voices agree these days. But the recently introduced Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013—which would authorize federal judges to impose prison terms below statutory mandatory minimums in some cases—represents a new bipartisan effort at addressing America's overcrowded prisons and bloated budget. Passage of the act, though, will depend on President Obama and his Justice Department getting behind it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

  This article from USA Today is a bit disturbing.  

While thousands of citizens are working businesses based on selling marijuana,  there are still inmates serving sentences of Life without Parole for selling the same product.

Pot entrepreneurs have high expectations for a future market in legalized marijuana.

Brendan Kennedy and Michael Blue are nice boys. Really. They're bankers. Yale MBA classmates. Wearers of ties.
And, if luck and changing laws cooperate, they'll be drug barons of a certain kind.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eric Holder: Some prison terms too long

Eric Holder: Some prison terms too long

PAUL: Minimizing authority of judges - Washington Times

 This piece in the Washington Times by Rand Paul should be welcomed by all who believe in civil bi-partisan cooperation.  Eliminating mandatory minimums is a step toward criminal justice reform.  It is fiscally responsible and speaks to civil liberties.

PAUL: Minimizing authority of judges - Washington Times

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

  Created By:

The Murder of Mary Jane

This film will explore marijuana prohibition, the current legal battle to legalize it, and U.S. citizens serving life sentences for marijuana-related offenses.

Why I'm Making This Film

My name is Kim Markou.  I am a freelance writer and producer. Four years ago I battled breast cancer.  Refusing the chemotherapy and radiation, I decided to concentrate instead on diet, nutrition and natural THC, with great results.  I found that even though marijuana has PROVEN medicinal qualities (U.S. Patent # 6630507), our government, steeped in hypocrisy and driven by money, corporate greed and the back room deals of big Pharm, has continued to prosecute and imprison fellow U.S. citizens, many like myself, who desire to treat themselves with a natural plant that contains anti-inflammatory and healing properties. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Drug Warriors Cashing In on Pot Prohibition | The Fix

 This is a pretty good article about the revolving door between "Government Service" and private business opportunities for government contracts.  It is a good argument for smaller more fiscally responsible government.

The Drug Warriors Cashing In on Pot Prohibition | The Fix

Monday, March 18, 2013

HIGHTIMES.COM | Pardoning Pot Prisoners

A new petition asks
High Times has spotlighted the Group Petition for Pardon  for five non-violent marijuana offenders who received sentences of Life without Parole for selling marijuana.  In the interest to fiscal responsibility and civil liberties, President Obama should grant these pardons.  It's the right thing to do.

HIGHTIMES.COM | Pardoning Pot Prisoners

Saturday, March 9, 2013

 This article by Vikrant P. Reddy and Marc A Levine from Right on Crime is worth the time it takes to read

The Conservative Case Against More Prisons

Higher incarceration rates aren't making us safer—and there are better, smaller-government alternatives.
Since the 1980s, the United States has built prisons at a furious pace, and America now has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world. 716 out of every 100,000 Americans are behind bars. By comparison, in England and Wales, only 149 out of every 100,000 people are incarcerated. In Australia—famously founded as a prison colony—the number is 130. In Canada, the number is 114.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sen. Leahy: Sequester should halt federal marijuana raids - Washington Times

 Could we actually be getting somewhere?  If we are fiscally conservative and care about civil liberties we should legalize marijuana.  Mass incarceration should not be our nations future.

Sen. Leahy: Sequester should halt federal marijuana raids - Washington Times

A 14-year Pardon Application Process?

 What happens to Clemency Applications?  Very little.  This is the sad story of the progress of a Clemency Application as it travels around the Justice Department.

A 14-year Pardon Application Process?

Monday, March 4, 2013

protesting union efforts to save Tamms prisonProtesters rallied against a union campaign to save Illinois' notorious Tamms prison.
On January 4, the Tamms Correctional Center, a supermax prison in southern Illinois, officially closed its doors. Tamms, where some men had been kept in solitary confinement for more than a decade, was notorious for its brutal treatment of prisoners with mental illness—and for driving sane prisoners to madness and suicide.
The closure, by order of Gov. Pat Quinn, was celebrated by human rights and prison reform groups, and by the local activists who had fought for years to do away with what they saw as a torture chamber in their backyard. But it might have been accomplished sooner were it not for a competing progressive faction: Big Labor.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Barack the Unmerciful

 It doesn't hurt to revisit this piece from Reason about Obam's Clemency.  Seventeen more Pardons, still only one Commutation.  Let's hope they are coming.

Barack the Unmerciful

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Interesting article in the Guardian about US Prosecutors representing drug cartels. 

US drugs prosecutors switch sides to defend accused Colombian traffickers

After working to take down cartels, former officials say America's 'war on drugs' is misguided and the human cost too high
General Ernesto Gilibert, right, and Leo Arreguin, examine seized cocaine, Colombia in 2000