After Fighting for Freedom, 76-yo Vet Sentenced to Die In Prison for Treating His Illness With Cannabis

vet_sentenced_for_cannabisBy Claire Bernish

As public frustration helps sound the death knell for the drug war, its arbitrary laws and policies appear even more absurd. In the latest inexcusable enforcement of an antiquated law, 76-year-old disabled veteran Lee Carroll Brooker will live out what should be his golden years behind bars — for simple possession of cannabis.

Brooker had been treating multiple chronic conditions with cannabis he grew in his son’s backyard; but when officials in Alabama officials discovered the three dozen plants, they threw him in prison for life — without the possibility of parole.

Thanks to a pointless mandatory minimum sentencing catchall — and the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear his case this week — Brooker has been left little recourse but to ultimately die in jail for treating his ailments with a plant.

“Alabama, like three other states, mandates a life without parole sentence for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana by people with certain prior felony convictions — and Mr. Brooker had been convicted of a string of robberies twenty years earlier in Florida, crimes for which he served ten years in prison,” The New York Times explained. “In such a case, the law doesn’t require prosecutors to prove any intent to sell the drug.”

Essentially, Brooker has been imprisoned twice for the same crime — because he sought relief from nature instead of arguably dangerous, legal and often lethal pharmaceuticals, courtesy of Big Pharma. Worse, Alabama’s already irrational law sets the cutoff in a case like this at 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram), and Brooker’s plants weighed just 2.8 pounds — but that included unusable parts, like stalks and leaves.

Make no mistake — this is an unjust law, an unjust conviction, and a ridiculous capitulation by the Supreme Court to Alabama’s archaic notion a nonviolent offense should somehow land a vet behind bars for life and separate him from his medicine — as if law were an inflexible monster to be beholden to, no matter its worth.

In fact, as the Times pointed out, “[W]hile the sentence was mandatory, the prosecutor was not required to bring the precise charges that triggered it. Prosecutorial discretion here, as in most cases, is a central factor in determining what punishment defendants face.”

In other words, the prosecutor railroaded Brooker over his personal, medicinal plants — by choice. Brooker, who joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and came under fire in both Lebanon and the Dominican Republic, eventually rose to the rank of sergeant in the 82nd Airborne — where he was decorated for infantry service.



Vox reported that even “notoriously conservative” Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore characterized Brooker’s sentence as “excessive and unjustified.” And according to the Times, the judge deciding the vet’s fate would have preferred to hand down a lighter sentence, but once the charges had been brought as they were, he was obligated to enforce the letter of the law.

Yes, this disabled man technically broke the law; but proffering such a rebuttal rings hollow, if not cold, considering the majority of Americans support cannabis legalization. Legality does not dictate morality.

A growing segment of officials and public figures do, as well, as The Free Thought Project reported recently, more than 1,000 police, world leaders, celebrities, and others signed a letter calling to summarily end the disastrous war on drugs.

In fact, though little comfort to Brooker now, the Drug Enforcement Agency will likely downgrade cannabis from its inexplicable Schedule 1 classification to Schedule 2 — as early as July of this year. Note that while a plethora of viable arguments can be asserted for rescheduling, considering states with laws like Alabama’s — and cases like Brooker’s — the slight concession by federal law would make a comparative, whopping difference.

Brooker attempted to bring his case before the highest court in the land as an inarguable violation of the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment — to no avail. The court’s stonewall, in itself, could be considered as much — in an increasing number of states, Brooker’s so-called crime would have been perfectly legal.

For now, though, it appears the 76-year-old will suffer the consequences of bad policy, unjustifiable law, and the cruelty of ostensible authority figures who were all just doing their jobs.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.


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5 Comments on "After Fighting for Freedom, 76-yo Vet Sentenced to Die In Prison for Treating His Illness With Cannabis"

  1. locutus_of_klingons | April 22, 2016 at 9:31 am | Reply

    I have a strong feeling that big pharma (aka big banks/rockefeller owned medical cartell etc) are pushing for cannabis prohibition. on the other side, their pawns like Soros push for legalization, I am asking what is going on.

  2. Lesson: do not live in one of these shithole states. I will soon begin to treat my cancer with legal cannabis in California. This vets crime was to live in a cesspool like Alabama

    I want to add. Tho this Vet no doubt thought he was fighting for freedom, he was not. He was fighting in an unncessary or criminal war designed not to bring freedom but to insure US control.

  3. Hello

    The absurdity is so far removed from common sense and takes the form of “machine sentence”

    The Green Party will defend the therapeutic use

    and also bury the laws that have condemned millions of citizens imprisoned for their continence.

    The Green Party needs your commitment and that of millions of enthusiasts to clear the site of social and environmental disasters that threaten today and tomorrow.

  4. Rape a child, get two years; treat your illness with a non toxic, natural plant from Mother Nature’s pharmacy, get life without parole. Way to go,USA.

  5. He should have moved to Colorado where one can walk into a store and buy it whilst being explained which variant does what and all are smiling and it is a heartwarming experience.
    Move to Colorado and enjoy the fabulous sunsets with a little help from your imbibing friends.

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