The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 24, 2014

Does punishment fit the crime?

For The Daily Item

— I’ve been a resident of Union County my entire life (50 years). I was raised by two loving parents in a middle-class home. I’m a hard-working, God-fearing, tax-paying average American. Except for the fact that I enjoy using and growing marijuana.

I was arrested in 2009 and 2010 for growing marijuana in my home. The police took my house, I lost my job of 20 years and I did 16 months in the county jail.

When released from jail in February 2012, I landed a good job in the natural gas industry. I started using marijuana on my days off of work, which was about twice a month.

On March 24, 2014, I failed a urine test given to me by my probation officer. Probation then searched my house and found two small bags of marijuana.

My probation was revoked and I was sentenced to 4 1/2 to 10 years in state prison. I am currently at Camp Hill State Prison being classified.

Growing marijuana is the only crime I ever committed my entire 50 years. How is it that I read in the newspaper where a woman that was an accessory to murder gets a five-year sentence?

Heroin addicts that commit crimes get a slap on the hands and are sent to rehab or drug court.

I’ve seen numerous sexual predators get much less than five years.

My fiancee has had to apply for housing, electrical assistance, fuel/oil assistance and food stamps to survive while I’m gone. Yes, I’m guilty of breaking a law, but isn’t 4 1/2 to 10 years for smoking and growing marijuana ridiculous? Especially in this day where 20 states have medical marijuana and two states allow recreational use. If I would have been doing what I was doing in the numerous medical marijuana states, I would be considered a caregiver and not a felon.

Our justice system is broken. Shouldn’t the punishment fit the crime?

Karl R. Sampsell, Camp Hill