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Collateral Punishments for Marijuana Crimes Can Exceed Those for Murder

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Marijuana offenses, even those considered minor in many states, carry punishments that go far beyond whatever fines or jail sentences the court imposes, in some cases literally lasting a lifetime and more severe than the sanctions imposed on violent criminals, according to a study to be issued July 2.

The report, by attorney Richard Glen Boire of the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, is the first study to systematically analyze these "collateral sanctions" and rank the states by severity of these ongoing punishments.

Among the key findings:

Sanctions triggered by a marijuana conviction can include loss of access to food stamps, public housing, and student financial aid, as well as driver's license suspensions, loss of or ineligibility for professional licenses, other barriers to employment or promotion, and bars to adoption, voting or jury service.

States vary wildly in severity of these sanctions, with the most severe punishments in Florida, Delaware, Alabama, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Utah.

Sanctions triggered by felony marijuana convictions can be more severe than those for a violent crime - and a felony can be as little as growing one marijuana plant or possessing over 20 grams of marijuana.

These sanctions, which come from an uncoordinated patchwork of laws, are not imposed directly by the judge and are not calibrated to the facts of an individual case. While judges are required to inform defendants of the direct consequences of a plea, they are not required to inform defendants of these additional punishments.

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Source: BBSNews
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Copyright: 2007 BBSNews
Website: BBSNews - Collateral Punishments for Marijuana Crimes Can Exceed Those for Murder, Vary Wildly by State
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