Topic

Drug Policy

157 petitions

Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Jeff Sessions

Don't escalate the failed war on drugs.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered federal prosecutors to seek the harshest punishments possible, including mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.  In 2004, I was given a 55-year mandatory minimum sentence as a first-time marijuana offender — virtually a sentence to die in prison. I had sold marijuana three times to an informant who stated that I had a firearm in my possession. I never used or even showed the firearm, but this allowed prosecutors to charge me with three counts of using a firearm in the course of a drug trafficking offense, that carried a mandatory minimum of five years for the first offense and 25 years for each of the other two offenses.  At my sentencing, even the judge disagreed with the sentence. He called it “unjust, cruel, and even irrational,” and pointed out that shorter federal sentences have been given to violent criminals such as murderers, child rapists, and even terrorists. I was only 24 years old when I was sentenced. While imprisoned for 13 years, I missed my children growing up and the fruits of a promising music career. Yet, no problem was solved. This waste of human life must end.  I’m only free because bipartisan lawmakers and advocates, and even the man who prosecuted me, came together to say that my sentence was wrong. My release was part of a changing attitude toward nonviolent drug offenders, with both Republicans and Democrats working together to make sentences fairer. But now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working to undo this progress.  Sessions decision to order prosecutors to seek the longest sentences possible reverses a directive from former Attorney General Eric Holder that instructed prosecutors to use their discretion and avoid long sentences for low-level drug offenders. Please sign my petition asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reconsider his push for mandatory minimum sentences. 

Weldon Angelos
79,980 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate

Pass the Justice Safety Valve Act

When my brother was sentenced to 55 years for a nonviolent marijuana offense eleven years ago, the judge who sentenced him strongly opposed sending a father of three to prison for so long. But because of mandatory minimum sentencing, he had no choice. Now, a new bill in Congress will give judges the authority to give sentences lower than the mandatory punishment in certain cases where the sentence is excessive. The Justice Safety Valve Act will finally let judges do what they're supposed to: judge! It would allow judges to sentence a person to less prison time than the mandatory minimum law requires whenever the mandatory minimum sentence is unjust or excessive. Federal judges are currently bound to sentence offenders in compliance with mandatory minimum sentences, resulting in unfair sentences and an explosion in the prison population.  My brother's judge called the sentence “unjust, cruel, and even irrational.” He's not the only one. There are judges all over the country who oppose mandatory minimum sentencing because these laws prevent them from using their discretion to hand out the appropriate sentence and often force them to destroy families.  In a recent interview, Weldon's judge said, “If he had been an aircraft hijacker, he would have gotten 24 years in prison. If he’d been a terrorist, he would have gotten 20 years in prison. If he was a child rapist, he would have gotten 11 years in prison. And now I’m supposed to give him a 55-year sentence? I mean, that’s just not right.” The Justice Safety Valve Act has bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House -- but your lawmakers need to hear from you. We can pass this bill and greatly improve the criminal justice system. Please sign my petition calling on Congress to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act.

Lisa Angelos
69,413 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Chris Christie, Stephen Sweeney, Paul Fishman, Vincent Prieto

Give this ex-offender a second chance, grant my pardon.

I have dedicated my adult life to helping others, so they can pursue their happiest lives possible. But now I need your help, and a pardon from Governor Christie, so that I, too, can pursue my happiness. More than two decades ago, I made serious errors in judgment. I was a gambling addict, and in order to feed my addiction, I planned to sell drugs. Thankfully, I was caught before I did any real damage to myself or anyone else. The day I got caught was one of the greatest reliefs of my life. But in the state of New Jersey, felonies stay on your record for life, and the drug felony I received back then has continued to haunt me to this day. I believe it’s time I had a second chance.   Help me urge Governor Christie to sign my application for a pardon. He has been known to speak passionately about giving ex-offenders a second chance at becoming productive citizens. I am the perfect example of what an ex-offenders can accomplish. Unfortunately, with this felony on my record, my life remains limited, and I am not free to pursue my dreams. Please sign my petition.   After my one year in prison, I discovered just how difficult it is to re-enter society. I was unable to get an apartment, or most jobs. Eligibility for financial aid for schooling was hard to come by because of my conviction, so I initially chose community college, where I graduated in the top 1% of my class and earned Permanent President List. Through dedication and hard work, I was accepted to University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. I graduated in 2003 in the top 5% of my class, having paid my own way through school. Through determination and my business acumen, I have been able to overcome many of the economic obstacles created by my conviction. I have been a successful entrepreneur and created jobs for New Jersey's economy. However, I have not been able to overcome some major obstacles in my personal life. I met my wife abroad, and as a result of my criminal record', I am unable to accompany her back home for more than 30 days. Essentially, my conviction from 23 years ago has robbed me of my freedom to pursue happiness with my wife and her family. While few would argue that I have turned my life around, my record keeps turning the clock back on my life. The irony here is that the harder I’ve worked to better myself, the more my criminal record has hurt me. Please sign my petition asking Gov. Christie to follow through on his promise to give ex-offenders a second chance. I have paid my dues, contributed to society and helped keep others from falling through the cracks I, myself, fell down. Tell Gov. Christie to do the right thing and grant me a pardon.   Video Please From Gary E. Meyer

Gary Meyer
3,975 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Susan H. Richmeier, Wendel Wurst, Ronald Evans

Give Shona Banda, a loving mom and medical marijuana patient, her freedom.

My friend Shona is a single mother who uses medical cannabis to treat her Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract that is incredibly painful. Now she's fighting to stay out of prison because she is a medical marijuana patient in a state where it isn't legal.  It all started last year when her 10-year-old son spoke out in school about the benefits of medical marijuana, explaining that it had saved his mom's life. Officials at the school called police who then searched her house and found medical marijuana and cannabis oil.  Shona's son was eventually returned to her after he was removed from her care when he defended his mother's right to use medical marijuana to mitigate her Crohn's disease. But she is now facing charges for possession with intent to distribute (even though the only thing she intended to do was take her medicine). If convicted this single mother faces a maximum of 27 years in Kansas prison for a medicine that is completely legal 70 miles away in Colorado. Shona's son, now 11, was questioned by police without knowledge or consent of either parent and this interrogation led to a warrant being issued that would remove both the child and Shona's medicine from the home. Without medical cannabis, Shona lives in extreme pain everyday. She chooses to combat her disease with cannabis due to its safety profile compared to other treatments and documented success of cannabis therapy in digestive disorders. But Shona lives in Garden City, Kansas where cannabis remains highly illegal, even for medical purposes. Please join me in asking Finney County Prosecuting Attorney, Susan Richmeier and Shona's public defender, Ronald Evans, to accept Shona's plea of "Not Guilty by Reason of Biological Necessity" and dismiss this case so that Shona can get on with her life and her healing process.

Jacqueline Patterson
73,137 supporters