Scarlet Letter Legalization (Cannabis and the Shameful Realities of Unequal Justice)

CANNABIS CULTURE – Matt Brown* and Natalie DePriest were both busted for their pot stash while away from home in 2011, but their stories take incredibly divergent paths from there.

Brown laid low at a friend’s house for a while, got a good attorney, and was never even arrested for the 175 plants he had growing in his home. 

He was sentenced to two years on probation. After one year with no limitations on movement—or even a single drug test—he was let off early for good behavior. “My record was sealed. [ … ] I went back to school right away, then got a job in IT.” The whole incident formed a short blip in his life that was essentially over when it was over. He manages tech support for his company now, and “No one has ever said anything,” about his record when trying to find employment. 

For DePriest, on the other hand, the ordeal was not so smooth. “It feels like I went to sleep at 33 and woke up at 41,” she says of the time she spent fighting her case and serving time. “This chunk of my life is just gone, and I’m back at square

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