When the student becomes the teacher, the former teacher often makes a career out of trying to relive the good ol’ days when she could push the student around and call him her bitch. And now former District Attorney Lynne Abraham is doing just that to her former protege.
She sees no good in these new city marijuana laws introduced by Seth Williams last month. And she may have taken a page out of recent cinema feature Reefer Madness when she said at a U.S. Senate subcommittee meeting that “local gangs” are “positively overjoyed” by the new policy of putting marijuana offenders through a quick court system. Abraham also believes the people benefiting from the law are “the same criminals who ruin the city's neighborhoods by aggressive, destructive conduct, engage in shoot-outs, commit violent crimes to support their habits, and they intimidate or kill witnesses.”
Because when “puff, puff, give” goes wrong, most stoners go for the rifle.
Williams’ top aide, First Deputy District Attorney Joseph McGettigan, said of Abraham’s comments: "I would see no evidence that the de minimus users of marijuana are significant contributors to this supposed Wild West violence,” and Chris Goldstein, a local NORML leader called her comments “a joke…The vast majority of the marijuana smokers are law-abiding citizens who are working every day to contribute to this city.”
“Under the policy shift, announced by Williams last month, prosecutors will charge such cases as summary offenses rather than as misdemeanors. People arrested with up to 30 grams of the drug—slightly more than an ounce—may have to pay a fine but will face no risk of a criminal record.
Williams has said he was not decriminalizing marijuana use, but trying to be smarter in fighting crime.
While the new policy liberalizes how prosecutors treat marijuana cases, offenders have not been treated harshly for years, rarely serving prison time. That includes during Abraham's 18-year tenure, which ended in January.
Pennsylvania law mandates only a maximum prison term of 30 days for the crime of possessing marijuana for personal use.
Williams initially said he would make the change by the end of April. On Monday, his staff said the shift had been delayed by problems reprogramming court computers to carry out the new policy. It will now be put into effect in early June, they said.
The District Attorney's Office has concluded that state marijuana law allows it to impose the shift unilaterally, without changes in either state or local law, the staff said.
Williams has said his aim is to divert 3,000 small-time marijuana cases annually out of the main court system, freeing prosecutors and judges to devote time to more serious crimes. The diverted cases amount to 5 percent of the caseload in criminal court.”
We guess Daylin Leach couldn’t be the only one on this issue today. Should we expect Lynne Abraham to play the role of Jimmy Carter in local politics? She has nothing to lose, nor gain, just like the man from Plains as he criticized those presidents better than himself over the past 30 years. Except, unlike Carter, we’ve never seen her even remotely crack a smile.
Come to think of it, she may benefit from Williams’ and Leach’s policy shifts.
If you totally spaced on the Marijuana March down South Street on Saturday, you can still maintain your cred: Just tune into State Sen. Leach’s press conference today. He’s got a little surprise for Pennsylvania’s toking class.
These are first-time nonviolent offenders, so instead of sending them to state prison, put them into the Back on Track Program, have them do drug and alcohol treatment if that’s what they need, do community service, address their literacy needs.