President Commutes 95 Sentences for New Year

Photo via Flikr user Gabriel Jorby

By Joan Eberhardt


Obama Commuted 95 Nonviolent Offenders’ Sentences

Earlier this year when President Barack Obama said he would take a look at the sentences of the nearly 10,000 prisoners in federal custody, who have been sentenced for nonviolent drug related crimes, we were cautiously optimistic. Then in July, when he began making good on that promise, drug law reform advocates called it a small victory.

Earlier this month, Obama commuted another 95 sentences, including two life sentences. That’s more than any single president has commuted since Lyndon B. Johnson.

The cases commuted include serious drug runners, like William “Billy” Ervin Deckle, now 66, who was convicted of flying planeloads of cannabis into South Florida through the 1970s and 80s. But it also includes Fate Vincent Winslow, a homeless man who provided two $10 bags of cannabis to undercover officers in exchange for a $5 commission he intended to use to get something to eat.

Tens of thousands more convicts are currently imprisoned as a result of the harsh sentences handed down due to the War on Drugs. Here’s hoping that lame duck Obama takes action to create more just terms for nonviolent prisoners as part of his 2016 swan song.

From Chocolate to Chocolope

Bloomberg Business recently posted the most fascinating photoset of a former Hershey’s plant turned indoor grow, in Ontario. The 168,000 square foot facility isn’t just a charming reuse of space, it’s also among the largest and most reliable growers that nation has.

The company, Tweed, uses that vast space to produce medical grade cannabis that serves Canada’s 30,000 medical marijuana patients. When Hershey was still operating, 200,000 chocolate bars daily. Which is a fun fact.

With Canada’s new hunky new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, putting marijuana legalization among his top political goals next year, Tweed is in a sweet spot (if you will) to expand growth by leaps and bounds in the next year.

Cannabis Research in Czech Republic

The International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute (ICCI), plans to establish itself and begin research in the Czech Republic. The Institute is the result of a partnership between American and Czech backers, and would have been located in Central Ohio, had that state passed a highly questionable constitutional amendment earlier this year.

Regardless, ICCI’s stated work will be to provide evidence-based research on the effects of cannabis and to provide scientific instruments to other researchers and medical professionals across the globe.

Medical cannabis has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2013.

Quick Puffs

  • A suitable state-by-state roundup of legalization news this year.
  • Indoor grows are, apparently, potentially prohibitively expensive in Hawaii.
  • This man was arrested for selling edibles in Washington, D.C., but successfully argued that no crime was committed because marijuana is legal in the district. He is very much not sorry and we wish him the best.

See you all in the new year!

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