Earlier this March, two criminal cases began making headlines. In one, raping a young girl earned a member of the NYPD a mere three years in jail. In the other, a cannabis advocate and illicit medicinals dealer earned a whopping two decades behind bars. Here’s why these two opposing and outrageous cases show just how badly the United States needs serious criminal justice reform.
As The Free Thought Project reports, Dr. Monroe Gordon Piland III is facing up to 18 years in prison after being found guilty of giving patients medical cannabis. Piland is an alumna of University of California, Berkely and Wake Forest University, both prestigious institutions.
Piland began practicing medicine back in 1979. At some point, he became interested in natural remedies. A resident of North Carolina, police first became interested in Piland after a social worker tipped them off about a possible cannabis grow on the Piland property.
Authorities found several illicit products in Piland’s home, including 7.4 grams of cannabis, 58 grams of poppies, cannabis candles, cannabis oils, mushrooms, and morphine sulfate.
Piland was convicted of selling and distributing these illicit substances. His cannabis grow was also located directly across from a daycare facility, which further concerned authorities.
Piland had received an earlier conviction in 1981, after being caught with an 111 plant cannabis grow operation. After which, he lost his medical license and had to pay some steep fines.
While Piland certainly had himself a collection, there is no indication that he was ever violent or caused lasting harm to anyone, though there were allegations that he gave his son cannabis-infused goat milk as a natural remedy.
Further, there is evidence of medical value for all of the found substances, though they remain barred from the public and doctors are unable to prescribe them due to their illegal status.
For example, a study showed that an active ingredient in magic mushrooms may have long-lasting positive effects on patients with cancer-related depression and anxiety.
Though poppies can be used to make more dangerous substances like heroin, they have an ancient history of being used in teas for pain relief. It is thought that something like a poppy tea provides a very small dose of opiates, though dose per plant will vary and many still consider it to have addictive potential.
Piland was a cannabis advocate from early on in his career. He broke the law by providing desperate patients with access to alternative medicines that many believe to be understudied and underutilized.
By comparison, a New York police officer, Vladimir Krull, that was convicted of repeatedly raping his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter got a mere three years for each rape.
As if the original traumas weren’t difficult enough, the teen was forced to recount the ways she was assaulted during Krull’s trial. She was raped the first time just a few weeks before her 13th birthday, shortly after her father passed away.
He raped her on two different occasions, as well as forced her to perform oral sex. He engaged in sexually explicit conversation with the daughter until right before the beginning of the trial, in 2015.
At 39-years-old, Krull is facing a grand total of three years in prison for each sexual assault, plus four one-year sentences for child endangerment and other crimes. For the grand total, Krull will serve 17 years in prison.
The message Krull’s sentencing sends is loud and clear: a single heinous rape of child by a police officer is worthy of only three years in prison. All the while, selling medical cannabis, mushrooms, and opioids to sick patients will land you a longer sentence that violent crime.
While Piland’s actions may be seen as questionable or in poor taste to some, his crimes were not heinous and many patients received the medical cannabis care they badly needed, yet were denied by the state of North Carolina.
Even considering the ethical debate of supplying these substances to patients under the table, Piland’s nearly two-decade long jail sentence is a staggering punishment for someone who may have done more good than harm. Piland will only experience life again outside of prison if he lives longer than his 87th birthday. What kind of justice is that?