Are you able to imagine having spent nearly thirty years in prison serving a sentence of life without parole? Imagine as though you were serving this sentence for importing and distributing marijuana in the United States in 1988.
Fast forward 26 years. Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in twenty-three of the United States. Two states have legalized the retail sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use.
Now, are you able to imagine being held in prison for supplying marijuana, something that is done as a common and semi-legal practice in many states in 2014? One man can.
Randy Lanier was released from Prison today after serving twenty-seven years of his life sentence.
In a written correspondence between Lanier and Indycaradvocate.com, Randy wrote the following as the reason he was incarcerated,
The reason for sentencing me to life without parole (natural death) was for running a criminal enterprise which distributed marijuana.
In the same correspondence, Lanier wrote why he committed the acts that resulted in his title of Drug Kingpin,
There are probably a few different reasons as to why I distributed marijuana. Faulty thinking and having my priorities in the wrong place is one reason. Growing up in the 60s and being around the marijuana culture could have had some influence on me. Money was also a contributing factor, along with the thrill of that sort of lifestyle.
The judge has not released the reason behind this sudden and unexpected release, and no one involved in the case is permitted to speak about it yet. The release does not come without strict stipulations of good behavior, of course, but it is a step in the right direction for the marijuana industry of today. It is difficult to justify keeping a person in jail for something that is not completely illegal, any more, in many states.
Might this be a new trend for the judicial system? Perhaps more people incarcerated for non-violent marijuana offenses will be released.
photo credit: Facebook.com/randylanierLWOP