July 28th, 2016
A 19-year-old Native American man in Oregon faces up to one year in prison for possession of a single gram of marijuana, the Guardian reports. Devontre Thomas could be incarcerated for having a tiny quantity of a substance which is now legal in many US states—including Oregon!
The federal charge, filed by the US attorney’s office, could lead to a $1,000 fine as well as the year in prison. The fact that this charge has been made at all appears to go against current federal guidelines and raise questions about US government authority in Native American territory. The director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Mat dos Santos, tells the Guardian, “I find it really hard to believe this should merit the concern of the US attorney. It’s really heartbreaking.”
Thomas, who is a member of the Warm Springs Tribe, has refused to plead guilty to the outrageous charge. His trial is scheduled for September 13.