The Harken Oil insider trading I wrote about Monday is hardly new. But back in 2000, few cared. Just as they didn’t care whether or not the candidate had been a coke head in his early years. (He refused to say, which led some to assume there was probably a reason he refused to say.) I don’t care what Bush did in his twenties and thirties, either – except to the extent that others who may have done no more are in prison today. Indeed, nearly three-quarters of a million Americans were arrested for marijuana last year – 89% for simple possession. (To see the penalties in your state, click here. In Florida, possession of 20 grams of marijuana – less than an ounce – is a felony that, according to NORML, carries a mandatory 5-year prison sentence.)
Meanwhile, did you see the 60 Minutes story on Tulia, Texas, a couple of weeks ago (September 28)? Thirteen percent of the town’s adult African-American population was imprisoned for alleged cocaine trafficking . . . in amounts like $160 . . . on the basis of totally uncorroborated testimony of a single undercover agent now under investigation himself.
The good news is that those who could prove they were not where the agent swore they were when they allegedly sold him cocaine were not imprisoned. And the rest of these $160 imagined drug lords, sentenced to an average of 20 years apiece, were all recently released after just three-and-a-half years. (“Never mind.”)