A Jamaican-born musician and Oregon resident convicted of drug trafficking in Madison County for cannabis he said he obtained legally in Oregon for his personal use received an eight-year prison sentence without parole.
Madison County Circuit Judge William Chapman said Patrick Beadle, 46, of Oregon, faced a maximum 40 years in prison after a jury convicted him in July under the state’s drug trafficking law.
Beadle, who performs under the name BlackFire, was charged with drug trafficking, although he said the marijuana he had with him was for his personal use and was obtained legally in Oregon where medical marijuana was legalized in 1998. Oregon voters approved the recreational use of marijuana in 2014.
Prosecutors admitted there was no evidence to prove Beadle was trafficking in drugs other than the amount of marijuana, 2.89 pounds, and that it was concealed in his vehicle.
Chapman departed from giving Beadle the 10 to 40 years under the drug trafficking law, but he wouldn’t reduce it to simple possession because he said the jury convicted Beadle under the drug trafficking law.
Chapman said Beadle would have to serve the eight-year sentence day-for-day since the law doesn’t allow for parole or probation.
Beadle’s attorney, Cynthia Stewart, said the sentence will be appealed.
On Sept. 24, Chapman delayed sentencing Beadle, saying he needed more time to study what sentence he would impose.
During the arguments last month, Chapman asked, “Why shouldn’t I send this defendant as a first-time offender for simple possession?”
Beadle’s mother, Tommy Beadle of Florida, made a plea to Chapman not to lock her son up.
“Judge, I’m asking for mercy for my son,” said Tommy Beadle said. “I wouldn’t stand here before you if my son was trafficking in drugs. As a mother, I’m asking you to please don’t lock him up behind bars.”
Tommy Beadle said Jamaicans often use marijuana for uses other than smoking, including washing themselves in it to ease pain.
Patrick Beadle said he decided to travel through Mississippi after having visited his 8-year-old son in Ohio because of this state’s rich music heritage.
Patrick Beadle said he has a medical marijuana card from Oregon to treat chronic pain in both knees where cartilage has worn down from his years of playing college basketball. Marijuana use is also common among Rastafarians.
Beadle said he was traveling March 8, 2017, southbound on I-55 after entering Madison County and at about 10 a.m., he was pulled over on I-55 near Canton by a Madison County deputy for the alleged traffic violation of crossing over the fog line, the painted line on the side of a roadway. He disputes the deputy’s assertion that he crossed over the fog line. He said his dreadlocks and out-of-state auto tag made him a target for racial profiling.
Earlier this year, the ACLU of Mississippi and a New York-based law firm filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of black Madison County residents, accusing the Sheriff’s Department of disproportionately stopping and searching black motorists.
The sheriff disputes the allegation, saying roadblocks are equally located in the southern part of the county where there is a greater white population.
The lawsuit is pending in federal court in Jackson.
In the Beadle case, then-Deputy Joseph Mangino found no large sums of money, drug paraphernalia or weight measuring scale to substantiate the trafficking charge.
“This is not the typical defendant you see. “He is not a drug dealer,” said Randy Harris, who was Beadle’s trial attorney.