Just saying hi...

SteadyBenny

New Member
I was a sign maker in 1989-91, mostly sheet metal forming, some vinyl. In 1991 I was arrested for posessing a small amount of pot (2 joints). The cops thought it was funny. They could tell me they had me going to known dealers no less than 10 times under observation. My regular dealer was popped, so I had to find a new one. They figured I'd stop. I guess I actually lead them to another one. He was popped later in the day I was. I never went to jail. I did spend 6 months under house arrest, much like Martha Stewart is now. My name was in the police blotter and my job fired me. My lawyer said i better find work before my trial or I would surely go to jail. I ended up working for a box and cardboard company strapping bundles together. Not a good job. I did that job for about 5 years. Then I washed cars.
I got married to a successful career woman, despite having been a bunch of minimum wage jobs. In 1999 we were able to afford a house, still worked lousy jobs. Tried three or four times to get a sign or sheet metal job, always turned down. In 2003 I bought a used plotter. In 2004 I took a part time job in a well known retailer (not Wal-Mart, but close) and have been doing signs part time since. I hope to have my own shop and just do signs within a year. Even when I was under house arrest, I never though that the conviction would follow me for so long... I'd say even today it hurts me. I always tell people, don't be stupid, a little pot can ruin your life.
I'm still trying to get somewhere.
 

Colin

Member
Welcome Benny,

It's interesting for me as a Canadian to watch how the marijuana laws play out in the U.S. I have never partaken in the stuff myself, but it seems mighty strange that someone is punished so harshly for such a minor thing.
It would make more sense to not neccisarily make it legal, but to at least de-criminalize it.
 
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geb

New Member
Well said Colin. It seems the US would rather spend tons of money enforcing laws on marijuana, when they could be taxing on the product, making money to spend for those who seek treatment, and education againt that, alcohol, and harder drugs that pop up every day. Presently, money is spent on enforcement, education, and treatment, with little coming in from enforcement measures to come close to paying for all that.

Sounds to me like Benny got a sentence alot longer than 6 months, and did the crime fit the punishment? Doesn't seem so to me.

George
 

SteadyBenny

New Member
It isn't the punishment... it is the stigma put on people who are NOT celebrities and have a criminal record. My "punishment" ended more than 12 years ago. It was a minor crime and a mild punishment. Ruined my dreams for a long time. I remember getting a drug test as part of a pre-screening in 1994. Was doing well in the interview. When I was asked to explain my criminal record, I was told "we don't hire drug abusers".
When I was fired from my first sign job... the boss says I can't have a pot head playing in the sheet metal shop... someone is bound to get hurt. While I've been sober just shy of 14 years, I know anyone that interviews me can still find out if I lie about being a pot head 14 years ago, so I do my best to explain it. The whole Martha Stewart thing has stirred something up with me because we are supposed to feel bad she must stay home when she isn't working. That happened to me too. They never gave me TV shows, just the short end of the stick.
I always warn people I meet not to let it happen to them. The punishment may never stop.
 

Jon Aston

New Member
Welcome Benny.


That's some tale you have to tell. I'll agree with Colin and George. The punishment (not just the sentence - but the criminal record and everything you described) doesn't fit the crime. Totally unjust. I admire your resolve to take responsibility rather than be a victim, however.

Ever think about emmigrating? I doubt that your record would haunt you anywhere near so unjustly in countries like Canada, for example.

Regardless: Good luck in your sign business!:thumb:
 
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