Penalties for sale or cultivation of marijuana also vary from state to state in the United States. Ten states charge at least 5 years for the individual convicted of cultivation or sale of marijuana while eleven states charge a maximum penalty of 30 years or more. In other states the punishment given to individuals who cultivate marijuana for personal use and for large scale trafficking is the same (Ruschmann, 297). For example William Foster of Oklahoma a medical marijuana user was sentenced to 93 years imprisonment in 1997 for growing 10 marijuana plants of medium sized and 56 clones in a 25 square foot underground shelter.
According to Foster he grew marijuana plant to alleviate rheumatoid arthritis pains. Unfortunately the plight of Foster is not isolated since six states in the United States have enacted marijuana laws that allow marijuana traffickers and importers to be sentenced to life in jail (Booth, 100). Individuals who avoid state incarceration are often subject to other punishment such as probation, submitting to random drug test loss of occupation license, mandatory drug counseling, expensive legal fees, and loss of child custody, loss of wages, removal from public housing and loss of federal benefits.
Loss of job may also result as the police inform the employers of the individual arrested. The laws of the federal government that prohibits marijuana are severe (Ferguson, 11). Under the federal law system if an individuals who are arrested possessing one cigarette of marijuana are liable to a fine of up to 10,000 US dollars and one year term in the prison (Ruschmann, 300). This penalty is the same as for somebody arrested possessing small amount of cocaine or heroin. Under federal law system cultivation of more than 100 plants of marijuana carries mandatory prison term of not less than 5 years (Booth, 103).
On the other hand large scale traffickers and farmers are sometimes sentenced to death. Most recently the congress proposed for the lowering of the amount of marijuana that can trigger the subject to be imprisoned for life (Gallup & Newport, 15). The Act of drug importer death penalty which was introduced in 1997 by a former marijuana smoker Newt Gingrich is potentially of sentencing first offenders who are convicted of transferring more than 50 grams of marijuana to life sentence without parole (Califano, 34). The offenders of the second time will be sentenced for a life time imprisonment in jail.
More than 37 members of the congress are currently sponsors of this bill. There are many millions of American citizens who use marijuana but few abuses it (Ruschmann, 305). The federal government ought to limit its involvement in this issue and it should solely address and sanction the irresponsible use of marijuana. The federal law system denies the entitlement of marijuana smokers. Legislation which was introduced by Sen. Phil Gramm and signed into law may deny aid in terms of cash and food stamps to any individual convicted of drug charges.
For marijuana smokers these charges include sale and cultivation convictions even for small amount of the drug and also nonprofit transfers (Booth, 104). On the other hand rapists, murderers or robbers can receive federal benefits and funds but most individual convicted of cultivating just small amount of the drug cannot receive these benefits. The government ought to understand that marijuana smokers are not part of violent crimes and therefore it is absurd to continue with law enforcements to arrest marijuana smokers (Califano, 36).