MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Jamaican Musician Gets 8-Year Sentence for Weed He Says He Bought Legally

Patrick Beadle was convicted on a drug trafficking charge, even though there’s very little evidence he was a dealer.

BlackFire Poet-Tree/FacebookBlackFire Poet-Tree/FacebookA Jamaican-American musician living in Oregon was busted last year for driving through Mississippi with nearly three pounds of marijuana. While Patrick Beadle claims he bought the weed legally and for his own medical use, he was nevertheless sentenced on Monday to eight years behind bars without the possibility of parole.

In March 2017, Beadle was on his way back to Oregon from Ohio, where he had been visiting his son. The Jamaican-born musician says he decided to drive through Mississippi because of its musical heritage, according to the Clarion Ledger. On March 8, he was pulled over by a Madison County Sheriff's Department deputy for allegedly crossing a fog line, something Beadle says he didn't do.

Beadle thinks he was racially profiled. While that's difficult to prove, he wouldn't be the only person to make such a claim against that particular department. In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the department in March, alleging in a press release that it "has implemented and enforced an unwritten policy and longstanding practice of racially profiling Black individuals and disproportionately targeting Black communities." While black people make up just 38 percent of the county's population, they were targeted from 2012 to 2017 in 77 percent of all arrests, 72 percent of citations, and 74 percent of arrests at traffic stops, the ACLU said.

Beadle, meanwhile, was stopped by then-Deputy Joseph Mangino. According to Mangino's court testimony, he smelled marijuana as he walked up to Beadle's vehicle and told him to get out of the car. When Beadle wouldn't listen, Mangino says he tased him. While Mangino originally accused Beadle of resisting arrest, he later acknowledged in court that didn't happen.

Mangino did find about 2.8 pounds of weed in the car, though Beadle claims he didn't consent to a search of his vehicle. Plus, Beadle says he acquired the weed legally in Oregon. As a former college basketball player, Beadle says he smokes to relieve chronic pain in his knees.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, decided to charge him with drug trafficking. But they didn't have a whole of evidence to back that up, aside from the fact that 2.8 pounds of marijuana is a lot for one person. The Ledger explains that Mangino "found no large sums of money, drug paraphernalia or weight measuring scale to substantiate the trafficking charge." According to Mississippi Today, an assistant district attorney argued that references to "music" in text messages found on Beadle's phone were actually code for the marijuana he was selling. However, those texts were not admitted as evidence.

Still, Beadle was convicted in July of drug trafficking. He faced up to 40 years behind bars, though Madison County Circuit Judge William Chapman opted to sentence him to eight years. Due to Mississippi state law, there's no possibility of parole or probation, Chapman said. Beadle's attorney, Cynthia Stewart, plans to appeal the sentence.

There are a few things worth noting about Beadle's case. If he's telling the truth, then it's nothing short of tragic that he could spend eight years behind bars for traveling with weed he bought legally. It's true that Oregon state law only allows patients to possess up to 24 ounces of medical marijuana, so if he'd been caught in that state, he still would have likely been in violation of the law. His punishment, though, probably would have been considerably more lenient.

Even if Beadle obtained marijuana illegally, there's not much evidence to suggest he was a drug dealer. And even if he there was evidence he was selling marijuana, eight years is a disproportionately long sentence. He did not harm a person nor damage any property. He and his family will lose nearly a decade of his life for the high crime of traveling through the wrong state with several pounds of dried plant matter in his car.

Residents of states that have legalized marijuana should know by now that crossing state lines with cannabis in their cars can be a problem. But I doubt even Beadle, who should've known that he was traveling with more marijuana than would be tolerated in just about any state, realized it could be this big a problem. His story illustrates the ridiculous disparity in marijuana laws across the U.S., and the need for reformers to keep pushing for change even as blue states get their recreational markets up and running.

Photo Credit: BlackFire Poet-Tree/Facebook

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Woody Chip Hurrrrr?||

    Aside from the stupidity of the drug war, why would anyone buy 3 pounds of pot in Oregon and drive all the way to Ohio and make it even longer on the way back by diverting through Mississippi?

    Jeez, the drug war is stupid, and I don't doubt you were racially profiled, but that doesn't mean you have to make it easy for them.

  • juris imprudent||

    Play stupid games...

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm guessing he likes to buy his Marijuana in bulk from Costco because that 24oz rule in Oregon blows.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    make it even longer on the way back by diverting through Mississippi?

    And from the article:

    The Jamaican-born musician says he decided to drive through Mississippi because of its musical heritage, according to the Clarion Ledger.
  • Bubba Jones||

    Yeah. Right. He went to Tupelo?

    His story would have been better if he said he was going to NOLA.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    There are a few things worth noting about Beadle's case. If he's telling the truth, then it's nothing short of tragic that he could spend eight years behind bars for traveling with weed he bought legally. It's true that Oregon state law only allows patients to possess up to 24 ounces of medical marijuana, so if he'd been caught in that state, he still would have likely been in violation of the law.

    Well this whole thing is a goddamned mess.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Oh yeah, in case the usual suspects get confused: Drugs should be Legal(tm).

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Too late, statist! We got a statist here!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AERwgNvgMmc

  • Juice||

    driving through Mississippi with nearly three pounds of marijuana

    Yeah...well...

  • Hank Phillips||

    This may not be racism--there's a standard for comparison. Texas is every bit as klan-ridden as Mississippi and a DEA agent's gorgeous white daughter was busted there with comparable stash. If Beadle's term is the same as hers we can conclude that ignorant, superstitious pseudoscience and corrupt asset-forfeiture looting--but NOT racial collectivism--prompted the medieval aggression against individual rights. Still, black voters would do well to notice that the Libertarian Party platform calls for freeing their friends and neighbors and restoring full constitutional rights to everyone railroaded for weed.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Trump is also on board with sentencing reform.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Texas is every bit as klan-ridden as Mississippi and a DEA agent's gorgeous white daughter was busted there with comparable stash."

    I must have missed Reason's article on that one.

  • Dillinger||

    is this Onion?

    >>>he bought the weed legally and for his own medical use, he was nevertheless sentenced

    someone is incorrect.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Oh, he didn't buy it legally.

    "Oregon state law only allows patients to possess up to 24 ounces of medical marijuana"

    He's got double the limit.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Oh, he didn't buy it legally."

    We don't know that. It wouldn't have been legal if he bought it in Oregon, However Ohio (where he was returning from) is a medical marijuana state, so he could have bought it there. The article doesn't actually say where he bought it.

    "He's got double the limit"

    Not quite. If the limit is 24 ounces, double that would be 48 ounces. The article says he was caught with 2.8 pounds, which would only be 44.8 ounces.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Some things are saying 3 pounds. I used that number.

    Ohio is more restrictive than Oregon.

    Here's why I'm annoyed.

    Marijuana is being legalized--not the way I want, but it's being put into the realm of standard intoxicants, which is a good thing. So I wish people would stop flouting the newly created laws that surround that legalization.

    But they can't seem to help themselves.

  • Zeb||

    He still might have bought it legally, if he didn't buy it all at once.

    (technically correct is the best kind of correct)

  • TW||

    Unless federal law was changed, there is no way that he bought marijuana "legally" regardless of whether he said it was for "medical" or any other use.

  • Ordinary Person||

    Oregon should kidnap a few rednecks from Mississippi and trade them for their guy.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Antifa killed them at the border.

  • Ordinary Person||

    Oregon should kidnap a few rednecks from Mississippi and trade them for their guy.

  • Conchfritters||

    8 years?? Dam.

    Judges smoke it.

  • Dillinger||

    even lawyer, too.

  • Zeb||

    Goats love to play with it.

  • Tony||

    For all we know being tough on weed is what keeps Mississippi from being a useless shithole of a state.

  • Agammamon||

    This from the guy who's openly come out hating Jews.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""keeps Mississippi from being a useless shithole of a state."'

    What do you mean keeps? It's one of the biggest of the useless shithole states.

    I like the SNL episode back in the 90s where they were doing a debate between Clinton, Bush, and Perot.

    Clinton: When I took over as Governor of Arkansas we were 50th in the nation, now I'm proud to say we've moved ahead of Mississippi.

  • sudon't||

    Uh, Alabama is a big contender for most useless shithole state, I'll grant you that, but Mississippi usually comes out on top in that contest. It's always dead last on positive indicators like education, and almost always in first place on negative indicators like poverty. You might say it's the United States of the United States, just as the US is the Mississippi of the civilized world.

    I gotta say, though, that dude was a little naive. I'm white, and traveling through Mississippi has always scared me. Not so much now as in the seventies, but I wouldn't be carrying any significant weight if I had to pass through through that shithole. If I were black, that's one state I'd stay the fuck out of.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Never drive through Mississippi.

  • Dillinger||

    word? musical heritage in Chicago or KC + less chance of Buford T. Justice.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    ...with 3lbs of pot.

  • sudon't||

    ...or while black.

  • Bubba Jones||

    He drove 3 pounds of marijuana across state lines to a jurisdiction where it is not legal.

    I can't imagine why the jury was unconvinced by his story.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Jamaican Musician Gets 8-Year Sentence for Weed He Says He Bought Legally
    Patrick Beadle was convicted on a drug trafficking charge, even though there's very little evidence he was a dealer."

    Compare to honest headline:
    "Man gets 8 year sentence for illegally transporting 3 lbs of pot through a state where pot is still illegal"

    Didn't Reason used to sing loud hosannas to the wonders of federalism? Have the pomo marxists tossed that aside too?

  • Arch Stanton||

    The motto of this website is "Free Minds and Free Markets" not "Git yer hands off mah states rights".

  • Robert||

    What's a fog line?

  • Eddy||

    You better not drive Mississippi until you know.

  • sudon't||

    It's another name for the white line which, by the way, crossing it is not a violation. What they'll usually say is you crossed the fog line a few times, meaning you're driving erratically. Stay out of Mississippi altogether.

  • Eddy||

    Commute the sentence to being banished from Mississippi until they legalize MJ.

    That way, Mississippi maintains the integrity of its drug laws and frees itself from the guy's contaminating presence.

    Do you think this guy would complain of such a sentence?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    If not legal in MS, it doesn't matter where or why he bought it.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online