When will the prohibition on cannabis end?
When will the prohibition on cannabis end?
13:19

When will the prohibition on cannabis end?

Culture
Speaker 1: Today 17 states and two territories have legalized marijuana for recreational use in those states, legal marijuana production and distribution is a fast growing multi-billion dollar industry providing new tax revenue and jobs. Another 36 states decriminalized marijuana for medical use in the remaining states. And under federal law, marijuana is still illegal. People are still being convicted and [00:00:30] incarcerated. How do we as a nation update the laws on the federal level to make a fair playing field for all. Now, what joining me today is Jason Flores Williams, who is an attorney based out of Colorado and is representing a man named Jonathan Wall. Who's 25 years old and facing 15 years in a maximum security prison for a marijuana related charge. Jason, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. You bet. So can you tell us about Jonathan wall's case and why it's important? Speaker 2: Yeah. [00:01:00] Well, first off it's do just a pot case and as we know, pot is being legalized, uh, across this country, state by state. Now we're at 17 recreational. Uh, John was, uh, out in California, uh, you know, allegedly grown weed. Some of that weed found its way back to Maryland. And now you've got a kid 25 year old in 2021, uh, facing 15 years in prison for pot. And it was spent more than the last year in [00:01:30] a super max jail in Baltimore. Uh, you know, it's just, uh, it goes far beyond constitutional implications and just, we are now in the arena of human rights violations. Speaker 1: I see. So, so how are you framing his case? How are you gonna defend him in court? Well, Speaker 2: You know, I'm at a point now where I believe, I mean, there's always two ways as a federal criminal defense attorney, you can handle these sort of things. And one is to attack the amounts because there's something called the federal sentencing guidelines and that's what these they're inhuman, [00:02:00] uh, in the way that they incarcerate people, according into basically a slide rule program that was established by legislators in Washington, DC. So one is to fight the amounts and so we can get under and try to keep 'em from having to do all that time. And then the second way is look people in this country, they don't want weed to be illegal anymore. They, uh, that's done statistically large, vast percentage of [00:02:30] folks are, you know, looking and saying, why aren't we, why haven't we fixed this yet? And I think at this point it's basically is kind of just like some paperwork typo that the government hasn't gotten to yet to fix, except for that this little paperwork fixed that they need to do with regard to ending federal prohibition on pot is costing people their lives. Speaker 2: Like my client who's ended up, you know, staring 15 years in federal prison for a plant that I can walk down right now, uh, to the corner here [00:03:00] in Denver, by and ice gram a sativa and have to hit a pot this evening. Something that lawyers, judges, police, officers do. Um, so on that level, uh, it's something around the, uh, lines of, uh, jury nullification in a way it's just letting the jury know, Hey, uh, you really wanna put a guy in federal prison for weed in this day and age, is that what you wanna do? And, you know, I just don't think there are that many juries, no matter where you're at in this country who [00:03:30] are still willing to do that, I think everybody's had enough and it's just time for, hopefully by the time we get to trial in May, 2022, uh, you know, we'll be done with at this and this little paperwork, typo will be fixed and prohibition on pot. Federal level will be over Speaker 1: The Biden administration has said, they're gonna pursue decriminalizing marijuana and expunging the convictions of everyone from past convictions, vice president Kamala Harris has actually set it on camera that she supports de [00:04:00] criminalizing marijuana. What will it take to get lawmakers, to update the laws and make marijuana legal on a federal Speaker 2: Level? Only it's a hell of a question, you know, because, uh, first off they should have done it a long time ago. The drug war has just caused infinite damage to American society with regard to resource to human. But, you know, I don't know, you know, it's a question of who controls the government and, you know, it seems like you have Democrats who are, would be pretty much ready to do it. So maybe it's like the Koch brothers [00:04:30] need to get involved and tell the Republicans, you know, Hey, this is a libertarian issue. We're just infringing upon individual liberties at this point. Moreover, uh, you know, these guys in DC, they always like when there's job creation and a lot of money to be made and there's a lot of money to be made right now and is being made in the, uh, Mecado Nevada bay or the green market as, as they call you. Speaker 2: So guys, you know, I just don't know Mexico's done it. Uh, you know, I don't understand [00:05:00] why, because if you are on the right, you should be for individual liberties. And if you know, you were on the progressive side of things, you should be against incarceration and also for individual liberties. So this seems like a real bipartisan issue. I just think we need to get the people who actually control these thing and inform these senators, uh, who, and, you know, it's the Senate, the Senate that's mostly holding up, uh, to just, uh, put the order down that it's time to move on this thing. Speaker 1: How do we, as Americans justify this split in our country, when [00:05:30] you know, like you were saying before I'm in California, I can go down the stream by pot and then in another state, right next door, you can go to jail for a long time. How do we justify that as Americans? Speaker 2: Well, it's not a justification. It's, I mean, there is justifying because it's actually something called an equal protection, 14th amendment violation. There's supposed to be a uniform definit in your citizenship. So for example, there's a guy, I don't know where you are in California, but you know, I have a client out in LA, who's making a lot of money with his dispensary, right? And for the same exact [00:06:00] activities that I have another client being incarcerated for and looking at serious time out of a federal super max in Maryland. So, you know, I'm in this strange position here in Denver, where, you know, on one day I'll get a call from somebody saying, Hey, I'm looking at, you know, investing some venture capital in Colorado cannabis. I wanna get involved in the industry. How can we do that? I'm over here in Washington, Florida, wherever any state, they come from all over looking to make some money in this industry. Speaker 2: [00:06:30] And then, you know, in the next couple minutes, I get a call from a guy who's incarcerated for the exact same activity. Now how the hell do you justify that when you're supposed to have all the laws applicable to every citizen in the same way. So right now there are economic liberties and let's just view it as an economic issue, economic liberties being enjoyed in some states while they're being denied in other states. And you know, you sit around and you say to yourself, well know you wish you could. You wish [00:07:00] you could just take this up to a federal court and say, here's a, here is a prima FAIA violation of protection of the 14th amendment. So you should dismiss this prosecution. It's done we're over. And even Clarence Thomas, who I consider to be one of the great judicial minds in American. Speaker 2: I said, I said that we're in a place now where we've gotta fix this. He just said that in dissent recently. Oh wow. So maybe it takes a Clarence Thomas [00:07:30] from, you know, in the heritage foundation, who's funded by the Cokes to come in and tell the Republicans what to do. And it's in their economic interest. It'll get 'em reelected. And then, you know, and then we'll just go along and fix this. But right now, honestly, there ain't no justification for it. It is a constitutional violation. And along like with what I said earlier now with Jonathan, it's a human rights violation. So what are the industries who are currently against the legalization of marijuana and why? Well, I mean, you know, you've always got the prison [00:08:00] industrial complex in America. That's that benefits from people being incarcerated. You've got private interest there making money. Speaker 2: And, uh, you know, I don't know. I, I actually don't have the knowledge to say whether or not they're lobbying against the legalization of pot, you know, in all honesty, in all honesty, you know, I'd like to come up with some kind of corporate answer all the money into some conspiracy theory, but here's the real truth when it comes to our country is this is a country that never likes to admit that it's [00:08:30] wrong. And, uh, and Americans never like to admit that they're wrong, but this thing has been wrong from the beginning. There's no other arguments weed's been legalized. States, created jobs. People are doing fine society, bring breakdown. The fact here in Colorado and Denver, you know, there's been this green rush that's occurred here. And, you know, and you go to a Denver Broncos game where people aren't drinking, but smoking pot instead, there's [00:09:00] less fights. Speaker 2: You know, it's, it's all everything that was said about why this should be illegal and all the, the panic and the fear that these, you know, these people engendered beginning with Nixon and maybe a little before then it's just simply all turned out to be. So that's what it is. And so now it's like, okay, so now we're just sitting on top of this pile of injustice now and you know, and it's like, what the hell [00:09:30] are we doing? We're gonna lose another one. I mean, I gotta tell you something, man. It's like, I, I don't wanna, I, you know, I'm not gonna live, uh, with the, with the, I don't know, notorious reputation or the stigma of being the last lawyer to represent someone who is incarcerated for marijuana in this country, but that's coming, that's coming right now. There is gonna be a last person in one of the most that we filed. I said, you know, I said, uh, it wasn't one of the replies John Carey, [00:10:00] when he came back from Vietnam said, who's the last person who's gonna die for a mistake. Cause right now there's, it's an analogy that fits perfectly with cannabis in this country and federal prohibition. Who's the last person who's going to be deprived of their Liberty for cannabis. Speaker 1: What do you think is gonna happen with the legalization of marijuana in five years from now and 10 years from now? How do you, Speaker 2: What do you see happening? Oh, just follow the money. You know, it's like usually going back to your earlier question, uh, I think we're at that critical point [00:10:30] where there's more money to be made in pot than there is in incarcerating people for pot. And that's what drives this country. And so it just, the economic argument is simply just going to win, right? It's like, you know, if you wanna make things happen in this country, don't, don't, don't refer to ideals and principles and constitutional rights. Talk about economics, say, this will create some jobs. This will get you elected. This will put more money into the, uh, tax coffers, whatever is that this will have a beneficial impact. [00:11:00] It's what the people want. So I would project, um, that within five years, you know, this federal prohibition will end. I mean, that's what Schumer said by four 20 of 2022, that it would end. There's the more act that's on the table right now in the house. Um, I just think you just need the, the real deciders coin, a phrase, uh, to, uh, take it up and say, okay, enough's enough, you know? Um, and that's it. But I think by five years from now, it'll be [00:11:30] open. So is Speaker 1: There anything you wanna say, anything you wanna add that our audience should know? Speaker 2: Yeah. Is that when I talk about this, when, you know, when I, when I cruise around, you have a beer with people and they ask me how the defense and law business is going. And I tell 'em, I've got this case out of Baltimore, uh, where this kid and a good kid is facing 15 years in prison for weed. They shake their heads and don't believe me, tell me that they think I'm lying [00:12:00] because no one really can believe anymore that any citizen, any human being could face a substantial deprivation of Liberty for a plant like you. And I both said, I can walk down the street and buy right now. And hell I pro I probably will after this interview, um, it's you, we could say it's an absurdity and something to laugh about, but it's, it's not an absurdity. Okay. When you've got that kind of incarceration [00:12:30] and that kind of destruction of into individual lives and families continuing on as we speak and that we're facing. Speaker 2: So I think it's real critical for your people to know that, you know, this is not just in the case of Jonathan Wall, this isn't something that, you know, we can sit back and say, Hey, let him fix it. This is a real live issue that there is, um, a lot of offering that's still going on right at this moment. And it will worsen until we put pressure [00:13:00] on these guys, uh, to end the federal prohibition of, uh, cannabis. My guest today has been attorney Jason Flores, Williams. Jason, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I just wanna thank you for your works, Luke.

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