Pubdate: Tue, 01 Feb 2011
Source: Dispatch, The (NC)
Copyright: 2011 The Lexington Dispatch
Author: Marvin Callahan


Editor: My grandson was in the car with someone who had marijuana in his
possession. The man admitted to the officers and in court that my
grandson had nothing to do with it, but he was charged and convicted
anyway, placed on probation and given fines over $3,000. There was no
way he could pay, so now he's in jail.

I sat in his probation office, and everyone was there for drug
offences. One did 10 years in jail and a lady eight years. The only
way they could pay their fines was to sell more drugs or steal.
Probationers must pay to see their probation officer and even pay a
fee to do community service. If you lose your case, you pay both the
court-appointed lawyer's fee and court costs (his court costs alone
were over $800). If found not guilty, he owed nothing, so where then
is there an incentive for his lawyer to defend him? That lawyer would
lose his fee defending him, wouldn't he?

Our legislators have created laws making marijuana and cigarette
smokers criminals requiring more jails while at the same time throwing
mentally ill people out on the street to fend for themselves. Things
called dope now were legal when I was growing up. Doctors prescribed
them to me, but now you can buy those same drugs cheaper on the street
than go to a doctor. The recent case of Thomasville's city manager
makes you ask, "Is this America?" Are any freedoms or rights left when
law enforcement can come on your property, sniff your house then come
in and search it without a warrant? The officer said he smelled
marijuana, but I don't remember anyone's nose being legal grounds for
search or seizure.

When I got out of the Navy my first job was making sisal pads. Later,
I found sisal is hemp and hemp is marijuana, and our government grew
the stuff to make high temp oil for our fighters in World War II. So,
why doesn't N.C. allow medical marijuana and set a small fine for
possession like California? People who kick in your door and rob your
home get less bail and fines than someone caught with pot. Our jails
are so full of people with drug-related offenses that criminals are
not being punished for their crimes.

Someone in state government needs a little common sense. Why not
legalize marijuana then at least North Carolina would get the revenue
instead of Mexico?

Marvin Callahan

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