Correction: A previous version of this post quoted an ACLU of Mississippi tweet, which was misunderstood to mean the non-profit was suing the Madison County Sheriff's Department for racial bias after hearing Beadle's case. The ACLU was in fact referencing a pending racial bias lawsuit filed against the department last year.
An Oregon musician is facing eight years in prison for drug trafficking after being arrested in Mississippi with cannabis he legally bought here.
Earlier this year, Jamaican-born Oregon musician Patrick Beadle, 46, was arrested in Mississippi for more than two pounds of marijuana he purchased legally in the Beaver state, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
In July, a jury convicted Beadle of attempted drug trafficking, a sentence with a 40-year maximum prison sentence in Mississippi. And on Monday, a Madison County Judge gave Beadle an eight-year jail sentence.
Cannabis use and possession have not been legalized in Mississippi, and during a traffic stop Beadle was found with 2.89 pounds of marijuana in his car, which he says was for personal use.
According the Clarion Ledger's report, Beadle is an Oregon medical marijuana card-holder who uses pot to treat chronic knee pain. The media outlet notes, "prosecutors admitted there was no evidence to prove Beadle was trafficking in drugs." But the sentencing judge declined reducing Beadle's sentence because "the jury convicted Beadle under the drug trafficking law."
The American Civil Liberties Union says Beadle was stopped and given an inordinately long prison sentence because of his skin color. The legal advocacy non-profit is currently involved in a lawsuit against the Madison County police department and calls the sentencing "inexcusable."
Last year, along with a New York-based law firm, the ACLU of Mississippi sued the state for stopping and searching black motorists at a higher rate than whites—which the sheriff disputes.
The ACLU and Madison County Sheriff's Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Beadle's case and the lawsuit.
Oregon cannabis consumers have more pot that they can smoke. However, taking marijuana across state lines is still illegal.
Cracking down on illegal exports of Oregon marijuana has been a priority of U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams. But the cases federal prosecutors are focusing on are much different than Beadle's.
For example: In August, six people, including two Portlanders, were indicted for intentionally attempting to ship Oregon-grown cannabis to Texas and Virginia.