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Arkansas governor pardons son for marijuana conviction

Gov. Mike Beebe and his son Kyle.
Gov. Mike Beebe and his son Kyle.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has issued about 700 pardons so far, and is now adding his son to that list.

Saying that many of those pardoned had been convicted of nonviolent offenses, he plans to pardon his son Kyle for a 2003 marijuana conviction.

Back in 2003, when Beebe, a Democrat, was Arkansas’ Attorney General, his then 23-year-old son was arrested on marijuana charges of possession with intent to deliver and convicted of a class C felony. Beebe at the time said that in spite of the relationship, his son had been convicted of a crime and had to be held accountable.

His son received a fine and three years of probation while serving no time in jail.

Currently a Class C felony marijuana conviction in Arkansas would mean a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence, though it is unclear what the law was 11 years ago.

Such a conviction means that he can no longer possess a firearm, serve on jury duty, and is discriminated against in hiring among many other things.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

On October 20 the parole board approved his pardon.

In 2013 alone, there were 1,036 arrests in Arkansas for sale/manufacture of marijuana, and 7,610 arrests for possession.

“I would’ve done it a long time ago.” the Gov admitted, “but he took his sweet time about asking. He was embarrassed. He’s still embarrassed, and frankly, I was embarrassed and his mother was embarrassed.”

The question looms then if any others will receive a pardon for cannabis offenses, or will his son will remain a special case before he leaves office after being term-limited.

Anyone applying for a pardon at this point would have to have it granted by Arkansas’ new governor, former DEA administrator and U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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