Howard Arenstein, award-winning CBS Radio News Correspondent and Radio Bureau Manager was arrested this past Saturday in Washington D.C. after police found 11 marijuana plants growing in the backyard of his home.
Arenstein is being charged for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The plants averaged 8 ft. tall each and police estimate could produce a pound of pot each. In addition to the pot growing in his backyard, the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that drug paraphernalia was also found inside of his home.
Firstly, I am very weary to assume that just because Arenstein is obviously in possession of approximately 11 pounds of marijuana that he is going to distribute it. What, in addition to highly respected newsman and recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award he planned to branch off from his career to become a drug dealer? No, I really don’t think so.
It’s possible that Arenstein was growing the marijuana for himself and for his personal use. When it comes to marijuana possession, I do not believe that it should be illegal in the first place and I think that incarcerating non-violent criminals on the basis of drug possession, especially when that drug is marijuana, is a waste of time. I wonder what is going to happen in the case against Arenstein, but either way the entire situation is going to receive some negative press either way. If he is incarcerated and given the same amount of time in prison that any other person on the street would be given in the same circumstances, we can look at it as being a waste of a jail cell because of the non-violent nature of the crime and if he is given a lenient sentence, if he is given a sentence at all, then we have yet another case of preferential treatment being given to someone because they’re well known. Either way you look at it, this just may be a messy situation all around.