"Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran suffering from chronic pain, was arrested in July 2011 for growing three dozen marijuana plants for his own medicinal use behind his son’s house in Dothan, Ala., where he lived. For this crime, Mr. Brooker was given a life sentence with no possibility of release."
... but I can't get my mind around "three dozen marijuana plants for his own medicinal use."
"Alabama law mandates that anyone with certain prior felony convictions be sentenced to life without parole for possessing more than 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of marijuana, regardless of intent to sell."
Isn't that just to save the government the trouble of needing to prove intent to sell? The large amount defines the crime in a way that takes it out of the range of what a user would possess to supply his own needs. I'm not attempting to comment on that approach to defining crimes and making prosecutions easier to accomplish or on the legalization question generally. I'm just finding fault with the linked NYT editorial, which says the Supreme Court should take this case and find an 8th Amendment violation. The editorial loses credibility in the first sentence by saying "three dozen marijuana plants for his own medicinal use."