Repeatedly defraud financial institutions and the government? Get 47 months in prison.
Illegally possess marijuana in a prohibition state? That’s a 12-year sentence, pal.
A lot of people, including U.S. senators, are picking up on this ludicrous sentencing disparity on full display in a case involving Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The former lobbyist was convicted of over a dozen financial fraud charges. While prosecutors recommended that he serve roughly 20 years, a judge decided on Thursday that was too harsh a sentence.
The decision immediately inspired a slew of tweets, with many giving examples of cases where non-violent cannabis offenses have put people in prison for much longer. One post, about the aforementioned 12-year sentence for simple possession, already has more than 10,000 retweets.
— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) March 8, 2019
But it’s not just activists who are taking note of the criminal justice imbalance. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Angus King (I-ME) have also raised the issue.
People are sometimes sent to prison for longer than 47 months for non violent marijuana offenses.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) March 8, 2019
Warren tweeted about Fate Winslow, who is facing a life sentence for distributing $20 worth of marijuana.
Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, commits bank and tax fraud and gets 47 months. A homeless man, Fate Winslow, helped sell $20 of pot and got life in prison. The words above the Supreme Court say "Equal Justice Under Law"—when will we start acting like it?
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 8, 2019
Harris, who, like Warren, is currently seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, compared Manafort’s prison term to marijuana sentencing in a campaign stop in South Carolina.
.@KamalaHarris tears into the Manafort sentence, talking about the inequity of a man being sentence to 12 years for marijuana crime vs Manafort's white collar sentence. HUGE applause in this South Carolina BBQ spot. "Everyone should be treated equally under the law," says Harris
— Kyung Lah (@KyungLahCNN) March 8, 2019
“We’re going to be flooded with stories in the next 24 hours about people with relatively minor offenses, selling an ounce of marijuana or stealing quarters from a laundry room with equivalent or greater sentences,” King told CNN on Friday.
.@SenAngusKing calls the Manafort sentence "astonishing."
"We’re going to be flooded with stories of people selling … an ounce of marijuana or stealing quarters from a laundry room with an equivalent or greater sentence." https://t.co/7ugXYVqHOL pic.twitter.com/amHyw1uIEm
— New Day (@NewDay) March 8, 2019
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) also chimed in.
-$55 million in bank and tax fraud.
-given 47 months.
Fate Vincent Winslow:
-sold $20 of marijuana.
-given LIFE IN PRISON.
Marijuana charges regularly net longer sentences than Manafort—we need #MarijuanaJustice to fix our broken system. https://t.co/q64uRKTWSP
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) March 8, 2019
So did Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
The failed war on drugs has devastated communities of color.
So-called law and order policies have unnecessarily wrecked millions of lives.
But a degenerate criminal like Paul Manafort gets a judicial slap on the wrist?
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) March 9, 2019
Elsewhere on Twitter, there was no shortage of outrage over the apparent judicial disconnect between sentences for white collar crimes and cannabis. Comedian and director Zack Bornstein joked that even his 4-year-old recognized the injustice.
OMG my 4-year-old just put down her Legos and said, “There are people serving longer sentences for marijuana possession than Manafort for helping dictators set up torture programs and committing high treason against the United States”
— Zack Bornstein (@ZackBornstein) March 8, 2019
Here are some more examples, in case the message hasn’t sunk in yet.
Paul Manafort committed fraud and got 47 months of prison.
Fate Vincent Winslow sold $20 of marijuana to a stranger and received a life sentence.
Our legal system is fucked up
— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) March 8, 2019
Oh I see, Manafort can commit massive tax fraud, launder Ukrainian oligarch money, violate a plea deal & give polling data to the Russians for cash, and do 47 months. But if I sold a few ounces of marijuana in Florida I get 5 years. Got it. #equaljustice #nojustice #Whitecollar
— Randi Rhodes (@RandiRhodes) March 8, 2019
Patrick Beadle, a father & traveling musician, is spending 8 years in a Mississippi prison for possessing medical marijuana he legally got in Oregon.
Judge Ellis gave Paul Manafort—tried for 18 crimes including money laundering, tax fraud & bank fraud—just 4 years. pic.twitter.com/DPuMhA0BGG
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) March 8, 2019
Lucky thing Manafort wasn’t found with a marijuana cigarette, been born black, or didn’t live “a blameless life” of representing dictators and the worst dregs of society. Otherwise he would have died in prison rather than taking a few years off in minimum security.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort gets 4 years in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States, witness tampering, bank fraud, tax fraud, and basically being a traitor to our country.
Corvain Cooper gets life in prison at age 34 for a non-violent marijuana conviction.
🖕White privilege. pic.twitter.com/an5DzCe9cU
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) March 8, 2019
As Manafort is sentenced to just 4 years in prison, a reminder that a black man in Mississippi was sentenced to 8 years in prison for possession of marijuana purchased legally in another state. https://t.co/2YwkQG5mki via @aclu
— Miranda Yaver (@mirandayaver) March 8, 2019
TWO JUSTICE SYSTEMS IN AMERICA:
Black men go to prison for 20 years for marijuana.
Manafort, convicted of 8 felonies, stole MILLIONS from America and only gets 47 months in prison.
— Red™️ (@Redpainter1) March 8, 2019
So a woman who mistakenly voted when she shouldn’t have will do more time than Paul Manafort. And there are people doing much more time for being in possession of drugs. Have a blessed night.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 8, 2019
— Tim Hitt (@lavitaminguy) March 8, 2019
Weed smokers are doing longer time than Manafort, for crimes directly against the very democracy of the United States.
— Kevin Baron (@DefenseBaron) March 8, 2019
I got grounded for 47 months for talking-back to my mom once. + I got a chancla thrown at me, which I dodged, so it grazed my ear. My mom’s tougher than that lame Judge Ellis.
Man, if Manafort was black or brown and was caught selling an ounce of pot, he’d be in jail for life.🤷🏻♀️
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort is a traitor who went on a white-collar crime spree but only got 47 months prison time in a country that hands out life sentences to people for a few dime bags of weed.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) March 8, 2019
Manafort committed fraud and got 47 months.
In 2015, The Daily Beast highlighted a man named Fate Vincent Winslow sold $20 of weed to a stranger and got life. https://t.co/Wu70gUHOHk
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 8, 2019
You probably get the idea by now, but you can sift through dozens more here.
Photo courtesy of Disney.
Snoop Dogg Has A Salaried Marijuana Blunt Roller On Staff
Snoop Dogg pays a person between $40,000-$50,000 per year to roll blunts for him, he said during a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show.
Comedian Seth Rogen confirmed that he’s watched the employee practice his craft during sessions with Snoop.
“He knows how to gauge the look on somebody’s face when it seems like they want a blunt, and if they do, he gives you one,” Rogen said.
“Timing. That motherfucker’s timing is impeccable,” Snoop said.
Stern asked Snoop to clarify if this person was actually hired by him and the rapper replied “that’s his J-O-B, his occupation.”
“On his resume, it says, ‘what do you do? I’m a blunt roller,” he said. “P-B-R, professional blunt roller.”
“If you’re great at something I need, I’m hiring you.”
Not only does Snoop pay him upwards of $50,000 to roll blunts, the employee also gets perks: he’s welcome to smoke the marijuana he rolls, goes on all-expense-paid trips while Snoop is traveling on tours and gets free items like clothing whenever companies give their products to the artist.
That seems like a pretty good deal compared to an opening within the federal government to mass produce joints for research purposes. The contractor who secures that position is subject to drug testing and presumably isn’t touring the world on the government’s dime.
That said, the job with Snoop likely isn’t a walk in the park. In a Reddit AMA in 2012, the rapper said he smokes 81 blunts per day.
Rogen said he’s spent hours smoking with Snoop and has found himself mesmerized by the worker’s craft.
“There’s been like 40 minutes where I’m like, ‘I’m just watching this guy and I’m just going to see what is going on here,'” he said, “As someone who smokes a lot of weed, it’s fucking fascinating.”
“Honestly, the amount of time I spend rolling joints, it might be worth my while financially to hire someone to do that,” Rogen said.
A video of the comments, released on Tuesday, is more cannabis content from the same Stern interview where Snoop and Rogen also offered advice on smoking marijuana for novices.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/The Howard Stern Show.
Police Ask Florida Man To Stop Calling 911 About His Stolen Marijuana
A Florida sheriff’s department had to ask a man to stop repeatedly calling 911 to report his roommate allegedly stealing $20 worth of marijuana this weekend.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office shared details about the incident in a video posted on Twitter on Saturday as part of its “#TweetAlong” program, where viewers can a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement activities.
“Alright, so I just received a call—a guy is calling in saying his roommate stole his weed, $20 worth, and he’s upset,” Deputy Neal Zalva said in the video. “He keeps calling 911 so I have to give a call to tell him to stop calling about this weed.”
— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) October 13, 2019
About an hour later, the deputy gave an update.
“Going back to the guy calling in to report his drugs stolen, I called him and let him know not to call the sheriff’s office and report his drugs,” he said. “He started to freak out a little bit on the phone and then hung up on me shortly after.”
— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) October 13, 2019
While medical cannabis is legal in Florida, low-level possession (under 20 grams) without a patient certification is still a misdemeanor offense that’s punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
The department told the Associated Press that no charges were filed against the caller.
There are two measures seeking to legalize marijuana for adult use in the state in 2020, including one that’s being backed by industry stakeholders. Organizers for the other campaign submitted enough signatures in July to prompt a state Supreme Court review of its ballot language.
Seth Rogen And Snoop Dogg Offer Marijuana Advice To First-Time Consumers
Seth Rogen and Snoop Dogg have some advice for first-time marijuana consumers: if you bump into them and want to sesh, limit yourself to one hit—or even half a hit.
The cannabis icons joked about their shared love for the plant and offered some tips for novices during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday.
Stern started by asking if the pair had smoked together before. Not surprisingly, they confirmed participating in joint sessions and both agreed that they were enjoyable experiences
“What do you mean when you say you enjoy smoking with Seth?” the host asked Snoop. “Are there people who can bum you out?”
“Yeah, because they talk too motherfuckin’ much and they just get in the way, but Seth enjoys the moment. He’s creative,” the rapper replied. “This motherfucker knows how to make a joint that looks like a cross.”
“He’s a bad motherfucker at that,” he said. “When he pulled that cross out, I was like, ‘God, let there be light!'”
Stern also brought up the fact that one of the show’s producers, JD Harmeyer, planned to smoke cannabis for the first time. For the occasion, Stern told Harmeyer he should probably stick to no more than three hits, and he asked his guests if that was good advice.
“I’d start with one,” Rogen said.
“I’d say a half of one,” Snoop said.
“This is from two guys who have had too many motherfuckers come up and get way too high,” Rogen added.
“And fall out,” Snoop said. “I have a lot of people [say], ‘my dream is to smoke with you.’ Bang. He dying, I’m gone.”
On Monday, actress Jennifer Aniston also gave Harmeyer advice and urged him to “pace yourself” because “it could be the best day of your life or the worst day of your life” depending on how much he smoked.
Later on Tuesday’s show, Snoop and Rogen gave Harmeyer some more advice about what kind of cannabis to smoke while flipping through a menu that appears to be from the nation’s first marijuana cafe, operated by Lowell Farms in Los Angeles.
Snoop said that the producer should stick to a sativa “because it’s a little bit lighter and it’s more of an introduction.”
Rogen agreed that it should be a sativa, but he said the concentration of THC should be on the higher end “to make sure you actually feel something because you might not.”
“But again, one fucking hit,” the actor, who also owns a cannabis company called Houseplant, reiterated.
Rogen has also leveraged his marijuana stardom for philanthropic purposes, putting on an adult carnival where the plant was featured to raise money for research into Alzheimer’s disease.
He appeared at a congressional hearing in 2014 and joked that while people might expect him to advocate for marijuana reform before the Senate committee, he was actually there to promote research into the disease, which his mother-in-law suffers from.
More recently, Rogen participated in a PSA meant to raise awareness of National Expungement Week, a series of events that took place throughout the country last month meant to help people erase criminal convictions, including those for non-violent cannabis offenses, from their records.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/The Howard Stern Show.