As Penalties Ease On Pot, Some Offenders Are Serving Life Prison Terms


As states and localities ease prohibitions on marijuana sales and use, people still are serving life in prison without parole for non-violent marijuana-related offenses, reports CBS News. “There’s no logic to it,” said Beth Curtis, whose brother John Knock is serving two life terms in Florida plus twenty years for three marijuana-related conspiracy charges. Knock, now 67, was indicted in 1994. Hewas a first time offender with no history of violence or drug abuse, according to Curtis, who started the website in 2010 to bring attention to her brother’s case and identify similar cases.

While Curtis says she doesn’t know the exact number of prisoners who are serving life without parole or de-facto life sentences for non-violent marijuana-related crimes, she lists 17 on her website and says she has a stack of others she is currently working to vet. Jennifer Turner, an American Civil Liberties Union human rights researcher and author of the report, said she has identified 7 state prisoners and 6 federal prisoners serving life sentences for marijuana offenses. “It’s incredible that someone could be sentenced to die behind bars for marijuana when it’s entirely legal in another state,” she said.

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