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Colorado Pot Prisoners to be Released? Fake, But Not an All-Bad Idea

Elizabeth Renter
March 13th, 2014
Updated 05/06/2014 at 8:11 pm
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marijuana colorado gov 263x164 Colorado Pot Prisoners to be Released? Fake, But Not an All Bad IdeaThere are so many websites that market themselves as satire news these days, it’s difficult to keep track of the true and the false, and it certainly doesn’t help that the real news is sometimes stranger than fiction. One recent fake-news piece by the questionably-ethical National Report garnered thousands of shares, mainstream news mentions, and backlash as if what they reported was actually true—that Colorado Governor John W. Hickenlooper would be releasing all marijuana offenders from state prisons and expunging their records.

Marijuana headlines are at an all-time high as states are considering and passing legislation regarding the medical applications, possession, cultivation, and recreational use of the plant and its derivatives. As Colorado is one of only two states to have thus far legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, and is home to the first legal retail pot shops, for many it seemed entirely plausible that the governor there would release marijuana offenders.

But let’s get real. Legalizing marijuana was a groundbreaking move for the state of Colorado. Everything that’s happened since—from the opening of marijuana stores to the report that projects state revenue on the plant to reach $100 million in the first year—these all of it has been “firsts”. But to think that a state official would not only release people convicted of crimes, but erase their criminal histories with expungement is a significant jump, even for Colorado.

Articles published by websites like the National Report frequently fool readers. After this article was published, Gov. Hickenlooper’s office was flooded with phone calls from people who wanted to show their support for the Governor’s reported feelings of leniency. Staffers truly had no idea what was going on.

While I’m reluctant to praise any of this fake-journalism that is a weak attempt at humor and seems like more of an attempt to blur the lines between what’s real and what isn’t (a la mainstream media’s propagandist coverage), the National Report piece did bring up a good point.

Far more lives have been ruined by marijuana laws than by marijuana itself. As a matter of fact, no single overdose or death has ever been attributed to the use of marijuana  (until recently, allegedly). But, years and lives have been spent in prison thanks to punitive laws that do more harm than good. The American Civil Liberties Union estimated that DC alone, which has recently decriminalized marijuana possession, spent $26.5 million enforcing the possession law. This is just one location in the U.S.

Is it likely that any state would free inmates convicted of marijuana offenses on a massive scale? Absolutely not, but changing marijuana laws could be fodder for appeals based on penalties way outside of the norm—penalties like the life sentence being served by Jeff Mizanskey, a Missouri man with no history of violence. Further, these changing laws and the attitudes that change with them could lessen the impact a marijuana conviction has on someone’s ability to get a job or find an apartment—both factors that are known to predicate a potential life of crime.

Though Colorado pot offenders will not be released from jail or prison on any sort of massive scale, the number of people being sent into the system for marijuana charges is already being affected by the recent law changes. And really, that improvement alone is enough to celebrate, no fake, comical headlines needed.

From around the web:

  • gmo2ashes

    All government policies and statutes are designed to plunder the public’s wealth. Legalization of pot does not give you back your natural right to use it as you please – it’s only a privilege granted by the government and it can be yanked away at anytime.

    Not only does government seek to grab some of the revenue from pot sales via tax, legalization of pot is simply a trap set to ensnare those who indulge in the herb. Many more “laws” and regulations will follow; and if you don’t conform to the government’s regulations, you will suffer and pay.

    Fines, lawyers, court costs, probation fees, prison terms, arbitrary searches, loss of liberties and freedoms, assaults by police, justification for civil asset forfeiture, driving under the influence, etc. will all apply. The latter is especially troubling considering how pot stays in your system up to a month. A traffic stop with a pot test can easily lead to arrest for DUI – even if you’re not under the influence.

    And remember, the Feds are always in the background ready to arrest you at any moment for a federal crime.

    Wrapped in a plethora of new “laws” to police its usage, “legalization” of weed only candy coats and perpetuates the same persecution of the public over a natural, even beneficial plant, one that should have never been banned in the first place.

    For those with a religious slant, the government is essentially saying God made a big mistake when He created cannabis and the all-powerful government in it’s eternal wisdom must correct Him by banning God’s creation.

    Nothing has changed. Legalization is only a covert maneuver by the government to identify and prosecute pot smokers and to continue plundering the public’s wealth, depriving them of an inherent right.

  • JackSchitt

    we live in a really fucked up society.

  • dave

    Over 20 years in prison for a petty crime and still no sign of parole, Ridiculous!
    It is quite obvious that we have lost the ability to govern ourselves.
    This is coming from a non pot smoker.
    People deserve their rights to their own volition’s.
    “Which is the freedom to choose, as long as it does not interfere with the rights and privacy’s of others”.

  • megan

    release them. as long as they didn’t kill someone too at same time. its their body

  • Takoda

    fake or not they should be released, the feds are gonna give amnesty to 10′s of millions of criminal (illegal) immigrants. Whys shouldn’t non violent dope smokers be set free, and btw i’m anti drug!! Also if they weren’t CRIMINALS for those liberals that wanna blast my comment why do they need AMNESTY?