weed laws
weed laws

It's Better To Get Charged With Homicide Than Get Caught With Weed...Wait, What??

Why Punishment For Cannabis Is Such A Mess

Posted by:
The Undercover Stoner on Thursday Sep 22, 2016

Better To Get Charged With Homicide Than Get Caught With Weed...Wait, What??

Sadly, It is Actually Better to be Charged with Homicide Instead of Getting Caught with Weed in Some States from CannabisNet on Vimeo.


Antonio Bascaro, a prisoner having already served 35 years, is about to celebrate his 82nd birthday behind bars. The father of three, has not seen his family outside of a prison cell since his conviction and while he is up for parole in 2019, hopes are not high he will live to walk the earth as a free man again.


Bearing in mind the implicating weight of such an enormous sentence, the natural assumption for most would doubtless be that the Bay of Pigs war veteran had committed some particularly heinous deed. Such a thing may be interpreted as judgmental, but common sense tells us that harsh crime warrants harsh penalty; such is the justice of the justice system in which we trust to look after all of our better interests.


So then, what level of degradation had Mr. Bascaro stooped to in his otherwise criminally unblemished life? He was a low-level ferry operator for a conglomerate of entrepreneurs who were trying to take advantage of the demand for pot that coincided with the era. 

A non-violent, first time offender sentenced to a lifetime behind bars. 

That might not mean much to us now in terms of how such a venomous sentence might translate itself into our lives. That was a few decades ago and Antonio Bascaro was smuggling marijuana during the climax of the war on drugs. America is far more progressive now than it was then, right?


The evidence suggests otherwise.


While many states have decriminalized cannabis, legalized it for medical use or, if you’re lucky enough to reside in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado or the District of Columbia, you’re probably aware that full scale legalization has been rolled out and treating yourself to a paranoia free joint is no novelty for you.

colorado cannabis law

The laws vary from state to state, however, so before you continue I would advise checking your States legislation regarding the use and possession of marijuana. The absolute worst thing you could do is assume that because your state has legalized marijuana for medical purposes, that the attitude of law enforcement towards recreational users has relaxed since the days of Bascaros condemnation.


States like Arizona are renowned for their harsh penalties concerning pot. The list of offences and consequent punishment for cannabis criminals in the state is extensive, exhausting and not in the least bit lighthearted. Here, getting caught with a joint will land you a felony conviction that carries with it a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 months- including the potential for up to a two year stint in prison.


4 months and a felony record for a doob? That’s right, but if you think that’s harsh you’re not going to like what I have to say next.


Enjoy a nice dab? Getting caught while in possession of Hash, or any other concentrated form of marijuana, will see you earn a 1 year mandatory minimum sentence and a $150,000 fine. Even being in possession of mere paraphernalia, or simply advertising the sale of said paraphernalia could see you getting acquainted with your new cell mate for up to 2 years.


If you’ve just been gob smacked by the harsh realities of the above penalties, I advise you to sit down before you continue reading. It only gets worse from here.



In Montana the sale or delivery of any amount of marijuana, with or without monetary compensation, carries with it the possibility of a lifetime sentence. By the strictest measure of this ordinance you could be on your way to grandma’s house to supply her body with the means to combat her sickness and upon being pulled over, arrested and charged; branded as the worst of the worst and given the due sentence of a lifetime behind bars[jk1] .


Such archaic, Neanderthal laws reveal a cesspool of judicial negligence and downright bias within the American legal system.  


bad laws on cannabis exist

These inane statutes, that contain within them the potential to unjustly ruin so many lives, are unveiled as all the more discriminatory when compared against the mandatory minimum sentencing laws, enforced by the same state, as they relate to Mitigated Deliberate Homicide.


Hold up, what’s mitigated deliberate homicide? You may have heard it referred to as a crime of passion. Word for word its definition is this, according to Montana legislative bill 45-5-103: A person commits the offense of mitigated deliberate homicide when the person purposely or knowingly causes the death of another human being or purposely or knowingly causes the death of a fetus of another with knowledge that the woman is pregnant but does so under the influence of extreme mental or emotional stress for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse. The reasonableness of the explanation or excuse must be determined from the viewpoint of a reasonable person in the actor's situation.


Mitigated deliberate homicide carries with it a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years.


Moral of the story? If you’re going to kill someone, having a good reason will at least reward you with a lighter sentence, but even a good reason for having medical weed that is not prescribed to you may not excuse you from spending the rest of your life behind bars.


Heavy shit, huh?


I think the heart of the matter, exposed in light of the above information, has probably already presented itself to you. Technically, by dot and letter of the law, deciding to smoke one joint has the potential to send you to see out the rest of your days in incarceration, but would it actually happen?


By and large I think most people would agree that even the most cut-throat judge would not hand down such a lethal sentence for such a meager amount of marijuana, even though he would be well within his legal bounds to do so.


Most people would probably also agree, however, that this war is at a climax. That much can be said with certainty. There’s apprehension all around, from the prohibitionists, to the activists, to the neutrals and when there’s heightened anxiety during times of unrest, rash decisions are commonplace.


Atrocities take place all the time during war right?


Bombs away.




James  (as part of our series at Cannabis.net called "Through The Eyes Of A Stoner")




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