Would you like to be the judge? Would you like it to be your responsibility to decide peoples’ fates? Should they live or die? Should they be free or imprisoned?
State governors make these judgments all the time. A signature or its denial can mean love, caresses, the joys of freedom– its denial, more time in a 6 x 9 with somebody who you would prefer not to associate with.
Sitting on Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry’s desk is a recommendation for Will Foster’s release. All it needs is the Governor’s signature. There is no time frame in which it needs to be signed.
So Mr. Henry, Has it been a good day in Oklahoma? Has there been a bright sun to warm the chill of the autumn day? Can you feel the seasons and enjoy your life, Governor?
It’s a terrible responsibility to hold another person’s fate in your hands. Sometimes you would rather hold your own fate than someone else’s. You can weigh the issues but sometimes it is hard to see which way the scale tips. Is society better served by keeping this person incarcerated, or by freeing them? These cases are the ones that you never want to have to second guess, you never want to do more harm than good.
But, Governor Henry, this case is much simpler. The parole board recommended that Will be freed immediately. They concluded that he was staying within California’s laws, and since he has no charges against him, they recommended he should be freed.
Looking at his record, he is not a threat to society. He has never been arrested for committing crimes against people or properties. He is not a thief, conman, scam artist, or embezzler. He is just another fellow American who as become a victim of the War on Drugs because of his medical use of marijuana. He has suffered enough. The compassionate thing to do is to sign the paper allowing for his release.
However, as important as that is to Will and his family and friends, it is important that you look at his case as just the beginning of an inquiry into the many people under incarceration in your state for possession, cultivation, and even the sale of small amounts. As we are learning, marijuana is not the threat to either the individual or to society that it was once feared to be. Right now it seems, that the main harm that comes to marijuana users is as a result of the laws against it.
Marijuana prisoners are not dysfunctional people who need your help for rehabilitation or re-entering society. For the most part, they are ordinary people in all walks of life, and the ones you incarcerate are usually fairly young, with a life ahead of them. Releasing these prisoners of war would be a tremendous act of compassion that would spread joy and benefits to everyone, not just the released but their families and friends, and your tax-paying constituency who will be freed of custodial responsibilities for these people.
So Governor Henry, I hope you will consider reconsidering Oklahoma’s policy and to release and free your citizens incarcerated for marijuana. Please start with Will Foster. Thank you for your consideration.
This is the letter I have sent to the Governor. I encourage you all to continue faxing, emailing, calling and writing the Governor and his office. A victory for Will Foster is a victory for everyone.
Governor Brad Henry
State Capitol Building
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Telephone: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353