In 1977 Mississippi decriminalized possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana so those caught would not have to pay a fine of more than $250. In fact, from 1973 to 1978, 11 states decriminalized marijuana similarly to Mississippi. The state also has a limited medical marijuana policy in place and there is work currently being conducted to expand the medical marijuana laws. Mississippi is unlikely to become one of the recreational weed states anytime soon though. Despite these progressive trends in Mississippi towards cannabis, injustice is all that Marvin Carver experienced over his own marijuana possession conviction.
In 2012, Marvin Carver possessed 0 grams of cannabis, and yet he was sentenced to six years in prison. He was riding as a passenger in the car of his half-brother when the police pulled them over and found a large quantity of illegal recreational marijuana in the trunk. Carver’s brother immediately told police that the cannabis was his alone, yet Marvin Carver was still convicted of marijuana possession. The Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the conviction earlier this month with a 7-0 vote, just five years too late. It is stories like Marvin Carver’s that has many marijuana legalization advocates up in arms. Senator Cory Booker proposed the Marijuana Justice Act earlier this year for this exact reason. Do you see the clear tragedy of someone losing five years of their life for unknowingly riding in a car with illegal marijuana in it?
JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Supreme Court is reversing a marijuana possession conviction, saying a car passenger didn’t actually possess the drug.
The court on Thursday overturned the 2012 conviction of Marvin Carver in Madison County on a 7-0 vote.
Carver had been sentenced to six years in prison.
Justice Leslie King writes that prosecutors never proved that Carver knew about or intended to possess the large quantity of marijuana that was in the trunk of his half-brother’s rental car.
The half-brother, Nicholas Ingram, told police that the marijuana belonged only to him after he was pulled over by a state trooper.
King writes that just being close to the marijuana isn’t enough to make Carver responsible for it, especially because he didn’t own the car.