California’s Prop 64 Could Help Federal Prisoner Serving Life for Marijuana

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Cheri Sicard, author Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women

Ask Cheri: How Are you Voting on Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act?

Enough of you have asked, so I guess I can’t put it off any longer and I need to answer how I voted on Prop 64, or California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) and why I did.

This voter initiative has created a chasm as wide of the Grand Canyon within the Golden State’s cannabis community and beyond. Like a microcosm of this year’s dysfunctional Presidential election, California activists have been at each other’s throats over the decision to vote for against Prop 64, with both sides distorting facts, and in some cases telling outright lies, in order to support their agendas.

Until recently, I myself was on the fence about how I would vote.  The criminal justice features of the AUMA were attractive, despite its many faults, but this was still a horrible decision for an activist like me who believes in cannabis freedom.  Each time I would decide to vote yes, I would read another part of the bill that made me want to vote no.

Ultimately what propelled me off the fence onto the yes side was the absurd, often crazy, tactics by many so-called cannabis activists on the No on 64 side, who think it perfectly acceptable to make up facts out of thin air and turn political disagreements into slanderous personal attacks.  I myself have numerous times been the victim of public attacks, even back when I was still undecided about Prop 64, simply because I did not choose to publicly condemn it.

But of all the factors, one particular piece of false propaganda put out by the no side cemented by place in the yes camp.  An internet meme that crossed my social media streams countless times over the last month or so claims that, under the AUMA, growing more than six plants will earn a person a life sentence. This is utter nonsense. Not that people in the United States don’t get life sentences for marijuana, I founded an organization, the Marijuana Lifer Projectthat advocates for those poor unfortunate souls who do. But California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act is not going to be the catalyst for more people serving life for pot. In fact, quite the opposite.

Without a doubt, there are a lot of things to hate about the AUMA, a 62 page nightmare of government over regulation that allows cities and counties to ban all but the growing of 6 six indoor plants, and tax and regulate marijuana within their borders without limits. But at the end of the day, I had to vote for this law. I owe it to at least one of the prisoners I personally work with, along with countless others in both state and federal prisons who will see relief if Prop 64 passes.

Corvain Cooper with his oldest daughter.

Federal prisoner Corvain Cooper, pictured with his daughter Cleer, could be helped by Prop 64’s passage.

Corvain Cooper, 37, is a federal prisoner serving a sentence of Life Without Parole for a nonviolent marijuana conspiracy. Corvain received this federal sentence in 2014, which illustrates that not only are there really people serving life for pot, but that we are still to this day handing out life sentences for marijuana in the so-called “land of the free, home of the brave.”

On the surface, you would think passing a state law legalizing marijuana could do nothing for federal prisoners, but you would be wrong. If a federal prisoner has prior convictions for marijuana in the state of California, Prop 64’s passage can mean a ticket back into court for resentencing. And for a prisoner like Corvain who has two priors in California for possession and sales of marijuana, resentencing from a Life Without Parole sentence will mean the difference between dying behind bars, or having a chance at an actual life again.

Corvain can petition for resentencing if Prop 64 passe because most felonies for marijuana sales and cultivation will immediately become misdemeanors upon its adoption,  and it does so retroactively. One of the factors that contributed to Corvain’s Life Without Parole sentence were his felony priors, and if his priors become misdemeanors, Corvain Cooper will no longer be eligible for LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE.  Is it automatic?  No.  It will still be up to a judge’s discretion.  But when you are looking at a Life Without Parole sentence, any potential chance at resentencing is HUGE.

Corvain Cooper is but one federal prisoner who may be helped with the passage of Prop 64, but there are likely thousands of others who have less severe sentences than life. For this reason alone, I have to vote yes on Prop 64.

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6 Comments

  1. Thank you Cheri. Hearing stories like these is so important because we often forget the real lives that will be touched in positive ways if we passed proposition 64.

  2. Cheri Secard is LYING and she knows it.
    Prop. 64 only lets people whose cannabis-related CALIFORNIA offense apply for release. But they are only eligible if the offense for which they were convicted is no longer an offense under Prop. 64.
    Under 64, it is no longer an offense to possess an ounce. But over an ounce is an offense. Under 64, it might not be an offense to have 6 plants (as long as your local jurisdiction ALSO lets you grow), so if you went to the joint fir more than six plants, 64 won’t help you.
    This woman had a security guard come make me move away from her lifer booth because she didn’t like me telling people the truth about 64.
    PS that is an OLD photo; she’s gained about 60 pounds.

  3. Shawnna Robinson on

    Letitia,
    Good job. You are the reason I voted yes on 64. Even if what you say is true, you are mean and hurtful and so are your followers.

  4. This is his daughter Cleer I read this whole article and I just really miss my dad corvain cooper My name is cleer cooper my moms name is Courtney Patterson my mom and dad are divorced it’s very hard living a life without knowing is my dad ever coming back or will I ever see him will he ever come back home I never get to see my other sister and every night I cry and pray to god that my dad comes back home the best. Thing about my dad was when I would go with him on the weekend and he use to get me anything I wanted I know selling drugs is bad and he served a lot of time it has been since i was in 2nd grade and know I’m in 6th grade getting all A’s I remember the story like it was yesterday I was calling my dad and I asked can me and You also scotlyn go on my field trip he said yes sure.The next day my dad had to take me to koomon on Tuesday for totur and I called him just a note I was 8at this time also its me and his birthday but mines is on nov1 and his is on nov2 back to the story I called him and the police cut off his phone the voice mail said u are calling someone in a federal prison .I got really scared so my mom called again and it said the same thing I didn’t really understand till My said he’s in jail I stared shedding in to tears my mom said its ok its ok so then I went to school it was the field trip day I told my mom I didn’t want to go because my dad has never took me on a field trip before so I told my teacher and she said its ok u can stay with me so 3yeats later I figure out why he’s in jail and my mom tells me the story why he got in jail it’s a very sad story but please got prop 64 for me

  5. Catrina Coleman on

    Cleer I’m so proud of you for speaking up. You are a smart and beautiful young girl and your father is a brave and good man. Everyone makes mistakes but everyone can be forgiven, and punishments should fit the crimes. Your dad has done more than enough time. Don’t you listen to anything but your heart – it will never steer you wrong. A lot of people are confused about 64 but there’s still a lot of people that understand it’s the right thing to do and I think the majority of people in California will be voting Yes on 64. Stay positive, keep your chin up, and be proud of your dad, he’s one of the good guys, a soldier in a very bad war.