When we make a mistake, the government brings down the hammer, but when they make mistakes, they are rarely held accountable. When they are forced to confront the glaring truth, we are lucky if is even acknowledged, let alone an apology. I don’t think a botched drug raid has ever apologized to the tormented victims, let alone paid for the cost to fix the damaged home. All that is about to change. For what amounts to the first time in history, a body of government is going to pay reparations for the devastating harms it inflicted incarcerating people for a plant!
Making things right
If you wanted to know why Oregon is doing things the right way, here is just another example. The newly appointed coordinator for the Oregon department of Marijuana Reparations speaks about the steps they are taking to make amends for the egregious horrors of the past.
“These were essentially incidents that should have never have been tried as crimes to begin with. Thousands of people have payed dearly over the years for laws which have criminalized a substance that is basically less dangerous than any over-the-counter painkiller.
Individuals who served prison time for drug offenses involving marijuana within the last 10 years will automatically be eligible for a refund of any fines and fees incurred as a result of those convictions, as well as compensation for pain and suffering endured from being incarcerated. These parties will also have their records automatically expunged. We are hoping that these actions will correct the injustices previously inflicted upon innocent citizens, and help them to go on with their lives.”
Picking up the pieces
Ask anyone who suffered through a hurricane. The storm isn’t over just because the wind and rain have stopped, you have to fix the damage caused too, before life can go on. While this is a powerful victory for justice to those persecuted under the draconian laws of the past, for many, it is still just a wound dressing. There are those who have lost their jobs, families, and freedom. There are many who have lost their lives, gunned down by militant police treating cannabis users like terrorists or rabid dogs. The time lost with loved ones; the years both during and after incarceration and probation, struggling to eek out an existence with the tarnished record of conviction looming over their heads, those years can never be given back.
If one state can truly see the errors of the past, and reach out to not only stop the wrongdoing but sincerely attempt to make amends to its people, there is hope for our society yet. Whether other states decide to adopt this course of action is yet to be seen. No one likes to admit when they have been wrong, least of all those in charge. But I for one, think this would be an extremely honorable use for some of that proverbial “fat cash” that legal states are enjoying with the passage of legalization.
Do you think all legal states should pay reparations to cannabis prisoners? Would you vote for it? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.