Jacob Lavoro is a 19-year-old man who is facing life in prison for making marijuana brownies. Supporters of Lavoro found this to be absurd and are now acting on his behalf to rally support for the Texas teen.
Police raided Lavoro’s apartment in April of this year after a complaint about cannabis use. Officers found 1.5 pounds of brownies, along with a pound of marijuana, digital scales, $1,675 in cash and dozens of baggies with marijuana and hash oil.
In Texas, marijuana concentrates are classified differently from possessing the plant material. Having just under a gram can net a person six months to two years. In this case, Lavoro faces anywhere from five to 99 years and up to a $10,000 fine. Depending on how the charges are worked out, he could even face 10 years to life.
A group started by Jax Finkel, the deputy director of Texas NORML, and Robert Butler, who is running as the Libertarian Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Texas, aims to hold a rally and raise funds to pay legal expenses and an expert witness.
The rally will be held outside of the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown during Lavoro’s next scheduled hearing on Thursday, June 19 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. He will be arraigned at this time, charges will be read, and he may be asked to enter a plea.
Organizers are asking people to dress nicely, preferably in blue to show support for justice and liberty, and bring signs supporting Lavoro’s release, though they request that signs not be mounted, only hand-held. They are urging people at the rally to act polite and not perform any sort of civil disobedience which would put the group in a negative light.
Seating inside the courtroom is open to the public but limited.
“Our goal with the protest is to show the DA and Judge that there is a lot of support for Jacob and that we think that he is being punished above and beyond what it called for,” Finkel stated. She continued, “we hope that they will lessen the alleged charges to a misdemeanor. We do not think any person, let alone a teen age first time offender, should be facing life in prison for a non-violent crime. WilCo is known for being exceedingly harsh on crime. As residents of the county, we feel it is imperative that our voices and indignation are heard. We are going to maintain a professional and respectful presence at the courthouse during Jacob’s hearing.”
The group is circulating a petition asking, among other things, that charges be reduced to a misdemeanor. The petition has over 120,000 signatures and has attracted media attention. Supporters can also donate to his legal fund and find more information on their Facebook page.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com
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