Purple Heart Recipient Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Medical Marijuana
Army veteran Sean Worsley was dancing and playing air guitar outside an Alabama gas station to the amusement of his wife sitting in the driver's seat of their car when a local cop confronted the couple, accusing them of violating the town's noise ordinance by playing their music too loudly.
The Worsleys turned the music down but then Gordo police officer Carl Abramo claimed to smell marijuana and asked to search the car.
Believing he had nothing to hide, Worsley informed Abramo that he was a disabled veteran with a valid medical marijuana card from Arizona. The cop told him Alabama does not recognize such a card and placed him in handcuffs.
Worsley's wife, Eboni, directed the cop to the legally purchased cannabis in the back seat and she was also placed in handcuffs.
The couple, who were on a multi-state road trip to visit family in North Carolina, spent six days in jail on felony charges after the cop claimed in his report the marijuana was for “other than personal use."
The incident took place in August 2016 but he was sentenced to 60 months in prison in April of this year after he violated probation when he was arrested for medical marijuana a second time. He uses the cannabis to treat his traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder, according to the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, which posted an in-depth article earlier this month.
Worsley ended up accepting a plea deal where he was placed on probation for 60 months as well as pay thousands of dollars in fines and court costs. He accepted the deal on the condition they spare his wife the same felony marijuana charge.
But the arrests took a serious toll on their lives, causing his wife to lose her job and making it difficult to maintain housing. They ended up spending several months homeless. Things got worse when Eboni Worsley needed heart surgery.
Like many veterans, Worsley, who earned a Purple Heart for a traumatic brain injury he suffered in the Iraq War, used marijuana to ease his symptoms. He also suffered from PTSD which he also treated with the weed.
But earlier this year, he was unable to pay the $250 to renew his medical marijuana card so when he was pulled over in Arizona, he was arrested again.
He was extradited back to Alabama where a judge in April revoked his probation and sentenced him to 60 months in the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Eboni Worsley has launched a Go Fund Me petition drive to help pay for legal expenses to continue fighting for her husband's freedom. It has raised almost $17,000 at this time.
My name is Eboni Worsley, the wife of Sean Worsley. Sean is a Veteran who became Disabled and awarded a Purple Heart as a result of his service of this country we call home. Sean has been prescribed many various medications to treat his ailments of which were to no avail. As a result he had been prescribed Medical Marijuana that had been very helpful along with therapy, acupuncture and many others forms of treatment. We made the mistake of traveling with his medical marijuana on our way to attempt to visit family and assist them after the Hurricane in 2016. That mistake has cost us upwards of $80,000, loss of a child, our home, vehicle, education and ultimately my husband's freedom. We fully understand we broke a law but could never be prepared for how that law has broken our lives.
Worsley is currently incarcerated in the Pickens County Jail awaiting an opening in the Alabama prison system, according to the Washington Post.
“I feel like I’m being thrown away by a country I went and served for,” Worsley wrote in a letter to Alabama Appleseed which also reported that Black people are four times as likely than White people to be arrested for marijuana in Alabama.