Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Surprise, surprise, the lobby to legalize marijuana lies

How many times have you heard, "If marijuana was legal, there wouldn't be a prison overcrowding problem?" Or been told the same thing? I know I've heard that argument more times than I could count. Personally, I'm against legalization for many other reasons, but even I figured a significant percentage of the prison population is incarcerated because they were arrested for using, possessing, or somehow otherwise violating laws concerning marijuana.

During the jury selection for Amanda's killer, Cody Gorecke's defense attorney quizzed potential jurors on whether or not they could "send someone to prison for marijuana?" Even though the trial wasn't about his marijuana use, even though it was about the violent murder of my 17-year-old daughter, you could see in the jury pool that his strategy was building up a sense of sympathy for Gorecke. You could see it in their eyes. You could hear it in their responses to the questions. This pool of potential jurors, from whom would come the 12 who would decide the fate of Amanda's killer, believed that many otherwise innocent people were imprisoned because they used marijuana.

Their sympathy for my daughter's killer forced us to accept a plea of manslaughter. Their vision of Cody Gorecke as a victim of harsh marijuana laws threatened to set him free if we pursued the charge of 2nd degree murder at trial. Their misconception of the impact of marijuana convictions on Arkansas' prison population forced us to take a plea that resulted in a 16-year prison sentence for the man who killed my daughter. If 16 years sounds like a long time to you, then consider that he was up for parole as early as this coming November, less than 4 years after my daughter was shot and killed.

"He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many" ~ Daniel 8:25a

THV 11, central Arkansas' CBS local station in Little Rock, today posted a story that showed just how misled the public is about marijuana convictions and the Arkansas prison population. Reading the article, I learned that LESS THAN 1/10 OF 1% of inmates in Arkansas' prison system are incarcerated for marijuana convictions. LESS THAN 1/10 OF 1%!

It was the Baxter County Sheriff who actually demonstrated just how misinformed the public is about the relationship between marijuana use and prison sentences. He posted an unscientific poll on his website asking respondents to tell what percentage of inmates are behind bars for marijuana. Almost 25% thought more than 50% of Arkansas inmates were there for marijuana convictions. Another 27% thought the number was 30% or 40%. More than half of those who responded believe that 30% or more of inmates in Arkansas prisons are there because they used marijuana.

In reality, LESS THAN 1/10 OF 1% are in prison for marijuana convictions. (I know I've said that several times, but I can't stress it enough.) Are you one of those misled by the marijuana legalization crowd? Have you bought the lie that legalizing marijuana would ease prison overcrowding?

From the article, "There are approximately 14,500 beds in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with another 2500 convicted inmates waiting to go to prison when a bed becomes available." So there are ~17000 people residing in Arkansas prisons, or in county jails awaiting open beds in Arkansas prisons. Here's the math...LESS THAN 1/10 OF 1% of those are there for marijuana convictions. 1/10 of 1% of 17000 is...wait for it...can you guess?...17!!!!!

That's right! Of the 17,000 residents in the Arkansas prison system, fewer than 17 are there for marijuana use! Fewer than 17! So, if we made marijuana legal, and even vacated the convictions of these convicts, it would free a whopping 17 beds in the entire Arkansas prison system.

17. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in...

Have you bought the lies of the legalization lobby? Are you one of maybe hundreds of thousands of misinformed Arkansans who believe that legalizing marijuana will ease prison overcrowding? If that's why you support legalization, then maybe you should rethink your position.

Spread the truth and stop the lies of the legalization lobby.

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