Helping Reduce the Human Cost of Cannabis Prohibition in Georgia

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Peachtree NORML, which operates out of Georgia, is helping to raise funds for expungement and reform efforts through Reform Georgia. Expungement efforts are critical because the criminal process for cannabis offenders often isn’t very fair, and the consequences of a victimless crime can last a lifetime.

The more you know about cannabis, the more obvious it is that the most dangerous thing you can do with this popular plant is get caught by law enforcement with it in the wrong state. Because cannabis crimes have been such a massive source of civil asset forfeiture funds federal law enforcement funding, police officers who could be solving rapes, murders, and other violent crimes are instead knocking down the doors of people accused of possessing small amounts of a plant.

Sharon Ravert is the founding director of Peachtree NORML. She’s also felt the effects of the War on Drugs close to home when her daughter, Brittany, became the target of local police. The story of Brittany is one that combines the abuses of the War on Drugs with a shocking lack of perspective from both the law enforcement officers involved and the prosecutor who handled the case.

Brittany was a college hopeful when she went to bed. Unfortunately for her, the Lumpkin County Sherrif’s Department showed up at her home that night in a military-style raid. She reports that they pulled her out of her bed by her hair while threatening her with a firearm before they marched her up into the living room while officers, including a man she had previously dated, went through her personal belongings and even her underwear. In the end, all they found was about one-and-a-half grams of cannabis. Still, they charged her with misdemeanor possession, felony distribution, and felony manufacturing charges for that one little bag of weed.

Overall, the sentences associated with those penalties could have resulted in 26 years in prison for young Brittany, and her family had to empty her college savings to help her fight them. Many others also find that the charges they face are so exaggerated and carry such a long sentence that they don’t dare do anything but plead guilty, resulting in a criminal record that can haunt them forever.

‘While legalization and medical cannabis laws have changed the experiences of some people, there are still many others left vulnerable by draconian prohibition laws. In addition to pushing for legalization, it is also important that activists remember the need to expunge the records of those who became victims of the War on Drugs.

Organizations like Peachtree NORML and Reform Georgia are helping push for change in states that don’t have good cannabis policies. Donating or helping them by spreading the word can help them undo the harm caused by years of prohibition.

Peachtree NORML, which operates out of Georgia, is helping to raise funds for expungement and reform efforts through Reform Georgia. https://www.facebook.com/ReformGeorgia. Expungement efforts are critical because the criminal process for cannabis offenders often isn’t very fair, and the consequences of a victimless crime can last a lifetime.

The more you know about cannabis, the more obvious it is that the most dangerous thing you can do with this popular plant is get caught by law enforcement with it in the wrong state. Because cannabis crimes have been such a massive source of civil asset forfeiture funds federal law enforcement funding, police officers who could be solving rapes, murders, and other violent crimes are instead knocking down the doors of people accused of possessing small amounts of a plant.

Sharon Ravert is the founding director of Peachtree NORML. She’s also felt the effects of the War on Drugs close to home when her daughter, Brittany, became the target of local police. The story of Brittany is one that combines the abuses of the War on Drugs with a shocking lack of perspective from both the law enforcement officers involved and the prosecutor who handled the case.

Brittany was a college hopeful when she went to bed. Unfortunately for her, the Lumpkin County Sherrif’s Department showed up at her home that night in a military-style raid. She reports that they pulled her out of her bed by her hair while threatening her with a firearm before they marched her up into the living room while officers, including a man she had previously dated, went through her personal belongings and even her underwear. In the end, all they found was about one-and-a-half grams of cannabis. Still, they charged her with misdemeanor possession, felony distribution, and felony manufacturing charges for that one little bag of weed.

Overall, the sentences associated with those penalties could have resulted in 26 years in prison for young Brittany, and her family had to empty her college savings to help her fight them. Many others also find that the charges they face are so exaggerated and carry such a long sentence that they don’t dare do anything but plead guilty, resulting in a criminal record that can haunt them forever.

‘While legalization and medical cannabis laws have changed the experiences of some people, there are still many others left vulnerable by draconian prohibition laws. In addition to pushing for legalization, it is also important that activists remember the need to expunge the records of those who became victims of the War on Drugs.

Organizations like Peachtree NORML and Reform Georgia are helping push for change in states that don’t have good cannabis policies. While national expungement week may be over, the fight continues all year. Donating or helping them by spreading the word can help them undo the harm caused by years of prohibition.

For previous Ladybud articles about police raids, click here.