In Texas, there are now pedophiles and rapists facing less prison time than a Round Rock man accused of baking a batch of pot brownies. Jacob Lavoro could soon be sentenced to rot inside the Texas Department of Corrections for running a small-time marijuana edibles operation, an offense that could earn him a penalty of spending the next five years to life behind bars.
While the Lone Star state is known for having some of the most maniacal laws against marijuana in the United States, the entire country is looking at Texas prosecutors in horror over reports that they intend to bury some poor kid under the prison for producing brownies and cookies infused with marijuana.
Even members of the police community believe the possibility of Lavoro receiving a life sentence over pot-laced baked goods is an example of the law going overboard. "It shouldn't be overlooked, but that's too heavy,” retired Oregon police officer, Rick Bittmer, recently told KEYE-TV.
Jamie Spencer, a legal representative for Texas NORML, agrees that the potential punishment in this case is excessive. He says, unfortunately, it was Lavoro’s hash oil recipe that brought the heat down. "Possession of the smallest amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Possession of the tiniest amount of hash -- even a gram -- is a state jail felony,” he said.
What’s worse is that it is perfectly legal under state law for law enforcement to calculate the total weight of the ingredients of marijuana edibles when establishing charges, which they did. They found Lovoro to be in possession of nearly a pound and a half of hash oil, which is a first-degree felony with a maximum punishment of life in prison.
"That's higher than the punishment range for sexual assault, higher than the punishment range for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. It's kind of crazy,” said Spencer. "This case is the perfect example of the insanity of Texas' drug laws,” he continued. “Especially when it comes to marijuana or anything where the active ingredient it THC.”
Although prosecutors have not said whether they will pursue the maximum penalty in this case, they certainly are not cutting this young man any slack. Lavoro, who has no apparent criminal record, is currently sitting in the Williamson County jail on $30,000 bond.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.