I'm the son of a US MARINE, if fact my father and
CNN's Berdnard Shaw were in the same Platoon on Hawaii.

If I ever do get national attention
Mr Shaw may remember the name.

    Those who suffer most from the war on pot tend to be poor or working-class people. They cannot avoid prison by hiring costly attorneys and can be  devastated by the loss of state or federal benefits. In 1997, Gary Martin was  arrested in Manchester, Connecticut, and charged with possession of  marijuana. Almost twenty years earlier, he had been severely beaten during a  robbery, resulting in permanent brain damage. 

After the beating, he endured a series of strokes, which left his right side paralyzed. He developed circulatory problems and his left leg was amputated. Martin regularly smoked marijuana to relieve "phantom pains" in his amputated leg. After being arrested for possessing less than four ounces of pot, he was evicted from his apartment at a special housing complex for the elderly and disabled. None of the doctors or nurses treating Martin was told in advance of  his eviction. They would have lobbied the authorities on his behalf. "Kicking  this guy out of his apartment for pot," says Hartford Courant reporter Tom  Condon, "was just pathetic." 

   The offspring of important government officials, however, tend to avoid severe punishments for their marijuana crimes. In 1982, the year that President  Reagan launched the war on marijuana, his chief of staff's son was arrested for selling marijuana. John C. Baker, the son of future Secretary of State James Baker III, sold a small amount of pot - around a quarter of an ounce - to an undercover cop at the family's ranch in Texas. Under state law, John Baker  faced a possible felony charge and a prison term of between two and twenty  years. Instead, he was charged with a misdemeanor, pleaded guilty and was  fined $2,000. In 1980, Republican Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana introduced  legislation that would require the death penalty for drug dealers. "We must  educate our children about the dangers of drugs," Burton said, "and impose tough new penalties on dealers." 

   Four years later his son was arrested while  transporting nearly eight pounds of marijuana from Texas to Indiana. Burton  hired an attorney for his son. While awaiting trial in that case, Danny Burton III  was arrested again, only five months later, for his growing thirty marijuana plants in is Indianapolis apartment. Police also found a shotgun in the  apartment. Under federal law, Danny Burton faced a possible mandatory  minimum sentence of five years in prison just for the gun, plus up to three years  in prison under state law for all the pot. Federal charges were never filed  against Burton, who wound up receiving a milder sanction: a term of  community service, probation and house arrest. When the son of Richard W.  Riley (the former South Carolina governor who became Clinton's secretary of  education) was indicted in 1992 on federal charges of conspiring to sell 
cocaine and marijuana, he faced ten years to life in prison and a fine Of $4  million. Instead, Richard Riley Jr. received six months of house arrest. 

   In September 1996, Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., attacked President Clinton for being "cavalier" toward illegal drugs and for appointing  too many "soft on crime" liberal judges. "We must get tough on drug dealers,"  he declared. "Those who peddle destruction on our children must pay dearly."  Four months later, his son Todd Cunningham was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration after helping to transport 400 pounds of marijuana  from California to Massachusetts. Although Todd Cunningham confessed to having been part of a smuggling ring that had shipped at much as ten tons of  pot throughout the U.S. - a crime that can lead to a life sentence without 
 parole - he was charged only with distributing 400 pounds of pot. The 
prosecutor in his case recommended a sentence of fourteen months at a boot camp and a halfway house. Representative Cunningham begged the judge for  leniency. "My son has a good heart," he said, fighting back tears. "Hes never been in trouble before." 

 Todd Cunningham was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He might  have received an even shorter sentence had he not tested positive for cocaine three times while out on bail. "The sentence Todd got had nothing to do with who Duke is," says the congressman's Press secretary. "Duke has always been  tough on drugs and remains tough on drugs." 

  Ed Forchion didn't even posses  marijuana. He's charged with conspiracy. He's facing a possible 30 year term with no political relative to cry to the Judge. The laws all fucked up. Nobody should be in jail for marijuana at all, but it appears rich kids have exemptions.



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