By: Mary Wilder
For many years now, we’ve known that the federal government and local police officers alike have been targeting minorities for frivolous possession charges. It’s not much of a conspiracy anymore, as it has been virtually proven as being the unfortunate reality for many people.
This has been made further evident in Oregon, where Devontre Thomas, a Native American teenager, could potentially be sent to prison for up to one year for possessing one gram of marijuana. For those of you who are not well-versed in cannabis culture, one gram of marijuana is a minuscule amount.
Yet Thomas is still facing serious charges for his “crime” — and that term should be used as loosely as possible. It’s only a misdemeanor, but one year of a young man’s life could be taken away simply because he decided to smoke a plant that exists in nature. How are we supposed to believe that we are a free nation when things like this are happening regularly all over the country? How is our safetyguaranteed in a landscape like this one?
The case has also spurred conversations about government overreach. The Guardian reports, “The government’s decision to file charges against Thomas, which criminal justice experts say is a perplexing move that directly contradicts federal guidelines, has also raised questions about how the US Department of Justice enforces laws on Native American territories.”
Leave it to the federal government to go out of their way to infringe on human rights under the guise of protection.
Everything about this unjust fiasco serves as a reminder that the federal government is looking for every reason imaginable to justify their expansion and overreach of power. There’s no reason that marijuana should be illegal in the first place, but to attempt to destroy the life of a teenager for possessing a tiny amount of the harmless plant is unforgivable.