To: Jill Ravitch, District Attorney and Robert Ochs, Probation Director

Stop Incarcerating Parents for Victimless Marijuana Crimes

I urge Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch and Probation Director Robert Ochs to stop recommending prison sentences for victim-less crimes related to marijuana. I ask that they listen to citizens like me whose taxes pay their salaries and the ballooning costs of incarceration, and withdraw their five-year imprisonment request for Yarrow Kubrin, father of two small children, and others like him.

Why is this important?

As described in a new cover story in the SonomaIndependent.org, the taxpaying voters of Sonoma County have voted overwhelmingly for both medical marijuana and full legalization. Yet Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch and Probation Director Robert Ochs are asking a sentencing judge to tear my husband Yarrow Kubrin from our four and seven year old children and incarcerate him for up to five years. Yarrow has never been charged with harming or threatening anyone. He registered and legally created a medical marijuana collective, with a bank account, but was arrested, and pled guilty, to legal technicalities (like depositing cash) under the State of California’s arcane marijuana laws.

There are many peaceful men and women like my husband Yarrow behind bars in Sonoma County today for legal technicalities related to marijuana. Yarrow has worked hard and successfully as a real estate broker since his marijuana bust four years ago, providing as a productive member of our community, and helping me, as a non-working mother, to raise our daughter and four year old challenged son. What possible benefit could there be to removing Yarrow from our family, forcing us into poverty, and incarcerating him at a cost to taxpayers of $50,000 per year?

District Attorney Jill Ravitch campaigned on a slogan of “Keeping You Safe.” Tearing parents from their families and incarcerating them for years for victim-less crimes like growing marijuana makes our families, and community, less safe! Why, then, did Ravitch withdraw a plea bargain agreement that would have avoided jail time and place him on probation for two years?

And why is Probation Director Robert Ochs, who has publicly expressed support for alternatives to incarceration, recommending a prison term of four and a half years for Yarrow, whose actions have never harmed anyone?

There has been an outpouring of support for Yarrow, with nearly 100 Sonoma County citizens writing letters requesting leniency, and overfilling the hall outside his courtroom. On May 5, Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau will sentence Yarrow. We ask that D.A. Ravitch and Probation Director Ochs reconsider their recommendations for jail time, and allow Yarrow, and parents like him, to remain with their families for victim-less crimes related to marijuana.

It’s time to stop the insanity of Sonoma County’s secret, unsupported, multi-million dollar war on marijuana.

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