D.C. Pays Dearly After Letting a Medical Marijuana Patient Die in Jail
As a toddler, Jonathan Magbie was stuck by a drunk driver. He survived for 23 years, paralyzed from the neck down, until one day he was arrested for using medical marijuana to treat his pain. Magbie died in jail four days later.
This week, Magbie’s family settled a wrongful death suit, bringing this unfathomable tragedy back into the spotlight:
Attorneys for his mother, Mary R. Scott, declined to provide details of the financial settlement, which she reached with the city, private contractors and the insurance company that covered doctors at the hospital. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Scott, called the settlement "substantial" in a news release.
Magbie's mother was furious that the judge did not give her son probation, the typical punishment for first-time offenders. Magbie, paralyzed since being hit by a drunk driver at age 4, had no criminal record. Retchin told a judicial commission that she sentenced Magbie to jail because he said he would continue to smoke marijuana to alleviate his pain. [Washington Post]
He was literally singled out for using medical marijuana and being honest about the fact that his condition required continued use. Anyone still struggling to understand the persecution of patients in the war on medical marijuana need look no further than this.
And, as Dan Bernath at MPP points out, voters in Washington, D.C. overwhelmingly passed a law back in 1998 to protect patients like Jonathan from arrest. If Congressional drug warriors hadn’t continually blocked the implementation of D.C.’s medical marijuana law, Magbie would probably never have been arrested, never died in jail, and D.C. taxpayers wouldn’t have to foot the bill for the mindblowing callousness and incompetence that took his life.