Casey Hardison has teamed up with MAPS.org to petition President Obama to grant clemency to peaceful Deadheads targeted by the DEA in the 90s that are still serving long sentences, and others serving long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
My name is Casey Hardison and in 2005 I was sentenced to 20 years in prison for making LSD. Luckily, I was in the United Kingdom where there are no mandatory life sentences for drugs. I served nine years and three months, and in that time I lost my father, my grandmother, and many friends. Still, I’m lucky. I’m free, outside the razor wire, and surrounded by friends and family, unlike thousands of nonviolent drug offenders still serving long or even life sentences in the U.S.
You could call me a hippie—I love the Grateful Dead. That’s why it bothers me deeply to know that many other Deadheads, some of the most peaceful people on the planet, were targeted by the DEA for drug offenses in the 1990’s and have been in prison for decades.
With the Grateful Dead reuniting in Chicago and California for their 50th Anniversary Fare Thee Well reunion shows, I’m calling on President Obama to grant clemency to Deadheads and others serving long sentences for psychedelics so that they don’t needlessly die behind bars.
These are people like Timothy Tyler. A peaceful Grateful Dead fan, he sold LSD to a police informant and due to mandatory minimums,received a double life sentence. Tim is so kind he became a vegan because he doesn’t want to hurt animals—yet he’s been in prison for 23 years.
Robert Riley is another; he has been in prison for 22 years, also serving life for LSD. And last December, a Deadhead named Rudd Walker died in prison at 41 from an apparent heart attack, 10 years into his life sentence for LSD conspiracy. No drugs were even found in Rudd’s case—he was convicted based solely on the testimony of others. His “life” sentence was, in reality, a death sentence.
None of these people are the violent drug kingpins for which mandatory minimum sentences were created. These are brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters who cannot watch a sunset or sunrise unimpeded by razor wire. Many will watch their families fade into oblivion. This is cruel and unusual punishment. I know from personal experience.
I’ve teamed up with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) for this petition. MAPS is a nonprofit research and education organization studying the potential for psychedelics and cannabis to treat PTSD, addiction, and anxiety. The promising results of their research further highlights the absurdity of keeping nonviolent drug offenders in prison for life.
Please sign this petition and ask President Obama to grant clemency to Deadheads and others serving long prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.