The defendants, some of whom were serving life sentences, mostly had their sentences commuted rather than receiving full pardons — meaning their sentences were ended or reduced while their conviction still stands. Some of them came from states where marijuana is legal. Reports Yahoo Finance
One person who did receive a full pardon is Lynn Barney of Utah, who had already been released from prison after serving 35 months for possessing a firearm, after a prior conviction for distributing marijuana. The White House described him as a “model citizen” devoted to his work and children.
Those who received clemency
- Craig Cesal, 61, was serving a life sentence and temporarily on home confinement to prevent the contraction of COVID-19. In 2002, Cesal was convicted of conspiring to distribute marijuana, after leasing tractor-trailers to marijuana smugglers who transported the drug from Mexico, across the Texas border, and into Georgia. In Cesal’s home state of Illinois, recreational sale and use of marijuana is now legal. “I never received any direct revenue from marijuana,” Cesal told the Chicago Sun-Times.
- James Romans of Indiana was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison, without parole, for conspiracy to distribute marijuana. His sentence was commuted after serving 10 years. The White House noted that he’s a father and a grandfather.
- Jonathon Braun’s sentence was commuted after serving 5 years of a 10-year sentence. In 2019, he was sentenced for an earlier 2011 guilty plea for conspiracy to import marijuana and to commit money laundering. The year he was convicted, Bloomberg reported that Braun built a predatory lending company while he was free on bail.
- Noah Kleinman, 45, had his sentence commuted after serving 6 years of a nearly 20-year sentence. He was convicted in California in 2014 of illegally distributing marijuana.
- Ferrell Damon Scott received a commutation of a life sentence, and the support of former Acting United States Attorney Sam Sheldon, who prosecuted his case but argued that he “strongly does not believe” that a life sentence was warranted. Scott was handed a mandatory life sentence and had served 9 years for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.