Ms. Mary Jane 2014

I am troubled by the most recent story on InForum about the missing 20-year-old NDSCS student from Wahpeton.  The young man, Andrew Sadek, has now been missing for eight days and the headline today states that drug charges were filed against him.  The story states  that Andrew was charged Friday with two counts of felony drug dealing based on allegations that he sold small amounts of marijuana to a confidential informant who was working for a regional drug task force.  According to court records two sales amounting to $80 total were made on the college campus.

Now everyone is left to wonder exactly how these pending criminal charges tie into Andrew’s disappearance.  I am sincerely hoping that he is hiding out somewhere (even though it is terribly hurtful to leave his parents in the dark), as I do not like to consider the alternative.  It would pain me to learn that this young man had taken his own life because of drug charges from selling $80 of pot.  I mean seriously, how much pot can $80 even buy?

I am not a drug aficionado, but I know enough from my life experiences to know that $80 of pot sales is not the drug crime spree of the year.  Indeed,  I can’t help but wonder if Andrew was charged so that they could get him to roll on someone else.  Getting the nickel and dime sales people on the ground does nothing in this war against drugs ( a failed war in my estimation).  There are a hundred more foot soldiers where he came from.

Seriously, why would you destroy a young man’s life for small time pot sales?  We are not talking heroin or meth – this is pot – the unofficial mascot of Doritos.  Dare I say, as the former Californian who was in grade school when I first learned of the evils of Mary Jane, that pot is passe and presents only a fraction of the danger that alcohol does.  I know North Dakota is more conservative than other states, but we aren’t in the dark ages…it is time to let go of our archaic views of pot as the evil gateway drug.

Now, before you hand me my Ms. Mary Jane 2014 sash, let me make clear that I am not endorsing pot use or sale.  I am instead saying that all things are relative and prison is not the place for a kid who is selling small quantities of pot.  Felony charges are life altering.

I hope that Andrew is okay somewhere and that he will come home and all this will be sensibly dealt with.  I hope his life will go on and these drug charges will eventually be a faraway memory in the rear view mirror of his life.  I hope that Andrew’s life and the lives of his family and friends have not been horribly altered by these felony charges.  I hope that North Dakota authorities and legislators will think long and hard about the relationship between crime and punishment – and recognize that punishment must fit the crime. $80 in pot sales is not a reason to go to prison.

Day one thousand four hundred and two of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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