President Obama has reduced the sentences of over 6000 convicted pot prisoners. Obama, who openly admitted his marijuana use in his college years and campaigned on his desire to reduce incarceration for drug offences, actually did something about the horrible injustices imposed by harsh sentences for a precious few individuals when he released 22 drug “offenders” including a man sentenced to life in prison for growing marijuana.

Francis Darrell Hayden

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One of many thousands upon thousands unfairly stripped of his freedom for appreciation of a simple plant, Hayden was imprisoned for life in 2002 for growing marijuana. While his only crimes were non-violent marijuana offences, the fact that he had previous convictions in 1980 and 1990, a court gave him life in prison for his third offence.

Hayden was arrested for the cultivation of about 18,900 plants grown among corn rows in Indiana and Michigan between 1991 and 1998.

Obama and freeing prisoners

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Obama had commuted more sentences that Reagan and both Bush presidents combined, and that was six months ago with a total of 43. More recently, he has commuted the sentences of over 6000 other prisoners. Though nearly one-third were undocumented immigrants, meaning they were simply transferred to I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for deportation, the others were forced to go to halfway houses to begin their transition back to civilian life. Even being released from prison doesn’t mean that a person is “free”. It is a huge step in the right direction, however.

The revolving door

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We cannot allow this ray of hope to cause premature celebration or an easing in our efforts to change the laws. While 6000 people were granted freedom, in a way, the number who had their freedom stripped from them by force is far greater. In 2014 there were 701,000 marijuana arrests, with about 90 % for simple posession. In 2013, marijuana arrests were about 693,000, and in 2007, there were over 873,000.

While the media either applaudes Obama for his “monumental achievements” or cries out in horror over “the flood of criminals released”, few realize that it is a battle of semantics over a drop in the bucket. The War on Personal Sovereignity, masked as a War on Plants and Health Issues needs to end. Completely.

Do you know someone who has had their life ruined by an arrest for simply posessing a plant? Share your thoughts with us on social media  or in the comments section below.