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I am applying for a Presidential pardon for my medical cannabis conviction. Will you help? [View All]

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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-11 08:38 AM
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I am applying for a Presidential pardon for my medical cannabis conviction. Will you help?
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Edited on Sun Jan-30-11 08:43 AM by Fly by night
Good morning from my Tennessee deep hollow home. As most of you long-time DUers know, I have been engaged in a nine year battle for my freedom and my farm for the crime of growing medical cannabis for myself and four terminally ill neighbors. I pled guilty to a single count of manufacturing 100+ cannabis plants (mostly clones, the total usable weight of which was a little over seven pounds.) For this offense, I was sentenced to four years probation (later cut in half by my judge) and no fine. However, the government continued to try to confiscate my 187 acre farm until last year when I agreed to give them 25 acres in exchange for keeping the rest of my farm. To date, this case has cost me over $1 million in lost income, legal fees and the value of the land I surrendered.

Ever since I was released from the federal Bureau of Prisons halfway house in May, 2007, I have attempted unsuccessfully to become re-employed in my field as a public health epidemiologist. It appears that my voluntary admission of my crime and the resultant felony conviction is preventing me from ever becoming gainfully employed again. In addition, the accelerated deterioration of my hip joints, caused in part by not being able to use cannabis for the five years I was randomly piss-tested, resulted in hip replacement surgery last May from which I have still not recovered.

Persons convicted of a federal crime must wait a minimum of five years to apply for a Presidential pardon. My waiting period has passed and I am moving forward to file the necessary application. Here is where you might be able to help. I am allowed to submit as many letters of support as I would like to the President with this application. I must designate three primary character references and those will be Mickey Gamble, the former Commissioner of Corrections for both Wyoming and Montana (with whom I worked to create the largest substance abuse treatment center in Wyoming near the Wind River Indian Reservation); David Earnhardt, the director/producer of the much-acclaimed documentary "UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections"; and Senator Beverly Marrero, the sponsor of Tennessee's Safe Access to Medical Cannabis legislation. However, I would like to submit as many letters of support as possible with this application. Thus, those of you who have gotten to know me and the circumstances of my case here at DU over the past seven years are in a position to assist this process by submitting a letter on my behalf. In addition, those of you who don't know me yet but who have strong and well-reasoned opinions about our current medical cannabis prohibition laws can learn about my case at the links below and write letters also.

To my knowledge, NO person who has ever been convicted of a federal medical cannabis-related offense has ever received a Presidential pardon from any President. Murderers, embezzlers, warmongers, election thieves yes. Pot growers and users no. (This was confirmed for me on Friday by the legal staff of the Marijuana Policy Project.) It is long past time to change that and Id like to do my small part. Perhaps if I can obtain the first pardon for a medical cannabis offense, that might accelerate the much-needed changes in our country's drug policies in favor of science, common sense and compassion that are long overdue. Who knows, we might reach a day where everyone who has shared my sentence (and my fate) for similar reasons might receive a blanket pardon, just as Jimmy Carter pardoned all those other felons of conscience who fled this country in the 60s and 70s to avoid supporting the war in Vietnam with their bodies and their blood.

Again, many of you know my story as it has played out here for many years. For those of you who do not, here are four quick links:

In April, 2007, as I was about to be released from a federal Bureau of Prisons half-way house, the Nashville Scene did a cover story on my case entitled "Marijuana Martyr".

http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/marijuana-marty...

In January, 2010, the Nashville Scene did another cover story to endorse the Tennessee Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act, a bill that I wrote and helped shepherd through the legislature last year. (The bill was approved in all House committees, including a 20-4 vote in the House Health and Human Resources committee.)

http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/a-proposed-medi...

My case has also been highlighted in two nationally syndicated columns, several additional cover stories in Tennessee and national media and two documentaries. Here is the link to a CNN profile on my case that ran (multiple times) back in October.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/10/14/dnt.harr...

Finally, I posted an OP here on DU last year entitled Witnessing our government sell my land for the crime of growing pot. That piece was published in its entirety on the NORML home page and on six dozen other internet sites.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Here are the instructions posted regarding character references on the instructions for a Presidential pardon:

At least three character affidavits must accompany the petition. If you submit more than three, you should designate the three persons whom you consider to be primary references. The affidavit forms provided are preferred. However, letters of recommendation may be substituted if they contain the full name, address, and telephone number of the reference, indicate a knowledge of the offense for which you seek pardon, and bear a notarized signature. Persons related to you by blood or marriage cannot be used as primary character references.

If you are willing to write a letter of support for my Presidential pardon, I would be deeply grateful. Address your letter to President Barack Obama, be sure to follow all the instructions above and mail your letter to me (no later than March 1) at the following address:

Trace View Farm
5985 Fly Hollow Road
Santa Fe, TN 38482.

My full name is Bernard H. Ellis, Jr., and my federal Bureau of Prisons number is 16502-075.

Thanks in advance to any of you who choose to K&R this thread today and a special thanks to those of you who decide to submit a letter to the President. Before I was sentenced, my judge received 300+ letters of support and there were 60 people in the courtroom supporting me on the day of my sentencing. I know that these letters carry weight if they are well-written and respectfully submitted. I hope that the weight of my Presidential pardon submission will help take the weight of oppression off the backs of millions of sick and dying Americans who would like safe access to medical cannabis NOW and to the thousands like me who would like to help them obtain it.

I hope all yall have a restful Sunday. We are the ones weve been waiting for.
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