(TMU) — For more than a year, cannabis has been legal in the state of Michigan and businesses across the state are making millions in the legal industry. However, tens of thousands of people are still incarcerated under charges relating to cannabis, despite its recent change in legal status.
Michael Thompson is one of those people. The 68-year-old is currently fighting for a shot to be released after spending the past 25 years in jail. Thompson was sentenced to 60 years in prison for cannabis distribution in 1996—a sentence that would effectively keep him in jail for the rest of his life with no chance for parole until he is in his late 80s.
Two years ago, Thompson was denied clemency by former Gov. Rick Snyder, but he hopes his chances will be better now that cannabis is legal and now that there is a growing support movement on the outside.
Thompson’s sentence was so extreme because he had guns in his house, but the guns were locked in a closet and reportedly were legal antiques. He was raided by police after selling three pounds of cannabis to an undercover officer.
“They stacked the gun charges on top of the marijuana charge as if they were used in the sale of weed and in fact it wasn’t,” said Kimberly Corral, Thompson’s attorney.
“I can’t die in here. For what? Some marijuana and some guns in a locked closet?” Thompson said in a phone interview from Muskegon Correctional Facility with WNEM in Flint.
“I’ve lost a lot. I’ve lost my only son. He was my best friend. And I loved him. My favorite nephew. I lost my mother and my father. All these losses for what? I’m in here and I didn’t kill anyone,” Thompson said.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said that he is willing to work with Thompson’s attorneys to get his sentence reduced.
“Forty to 60 years is a harsh sentence even in a second-degree murder case,“ Leyton said.
Technically, even though recreational cannabis is legal in the state, it is also highly regulated so selling three pounds to an undercover cop will still get you arrested. But Leyton maintains that the punishment still doesn’t fit the crime.
“I suspect it would be more in the single digits. I don’t think it would even be a 10-year-felony,” Leyton said.
Thompson and his attorneys are also hoping to get the attention of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the possibility of clemency. Thompson’s supporters are currently organizing petitions and letters to be sent to the governor from the website freemichaelthompson.com. Over 21,000 letters and petition signatures demanding Thompson’s release have been collected through the website.
Michael Thompson sold three pounds of marijuana in 1996. He was sentenced to prison for up to 60 years, a minimum of 40. He's been in prison for nearly 25 years so far… Do you think it's time to forgive him?
Posted by Scott Wolchek- Reporter on Thursday, February 6, 2020
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.