In one of the most disgusting stories I've ever read, it appears that a 37 year old Nigerian man has been sentenced to death for selling marijuana in Malaysia. Not a fine. Not jail. Death. This man will face the death penalty for selling a substance that has never killed anyone in the history of mankind. Per New Straits Times:
A Nigerian college student gets death for trafficking 26.5kg of cannabis four years ago. High Court judge Datin Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah today sentenced Uchechukwu Nelson Ohaechesi, 37, to be hanged for trafficking the drugs at the side of an overhead bridge stairwell at the Kajang-bound Taman Connought highway, Cheras here, around 7.45pm on Oct 17, 2010. Amelia ruled that Uchechukwu failed to raise reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case and that his defense amounted to "an afterthought, pure fabrication and untrue".
People are legally selling marijuana right now in Washington State and Colorado, and it has led to virtually no issues. Yet, in Malaysia, the court determined that selling marijuana was such a heinous act that it warrants the death penalty. This makes my heart heavy in a way that I don't think I can ever accurately capture in words. No one should be penalized for marijuana, let alone lose their life by being hung from a noose.
Some people might brush this off and think of it as an example of a country with ultra harsh laws, and that it's far removed from what is going on in the United States. To these people I would offer up this fact - a man is serving a life sentence in Missouri right now for marijuana-only offenses. Jeff Mizanskey hasn't received the death penalty in Missouri, but he will never be let out of jail according to his sentence. His life has been taken from him, and his friends and family will never get to spend quality time with him, solely because he was arrested for marijuana.