4/20 FRIENDLY: In order to fete April 20 — aka National Marijuana Day — High Times magazine will do more than spark up a few joints. The magazine has launched a petition to free all non-violent marijuana users from U.S. prisons. Posted on Change.org as well as Hightimes.com starting Monday, the petition demands that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General Designate Loretta Lynch and California Attorney General Attorney Kamala Harris free what High Times’ Chris Simunek estimates is “tens of thousands” of prisoners. Simunek, who serves as High Times’ “Sordid Affairs Editor,” told WWD that he decided to pen the petition on April 20 because it’s the highest traffi cked time on the magazine’s Web site.
“We need a groundswell — mass pardons and mass releases — not on the scale of tens but on the scale of thousands,” he said, explaining that while it’s hard to know how many are in jail, the underlying message is that the inmates are not criminals.
“We want to them to free the prisoners who have been jailed for growing, smoking, selling — to us they are not quote-unquote crimes,” Simunek said. “It’s getting to the point where this hypocrisy can no longer be ignored. Marijuana is legal in some places, but people are in jail. This is a xenophobic war that America has been waging against this plant since the Thirties.”
Simunek went a step further, calling such imprisonment a “human right’s issue.” He even invoked President Barack Obama, saying, “If the president had been arrested for smoking marijuana when he was young, he would never have become president,” Simunek noted. “For every person behind bars for marijuana, there is a roadblock between them and the American dream.”