Joseph Tigano III, the Chautauqua County man serving 20 years in prison for growing marijuana, was denied clemency last week.
Tigano, who was hoping President Obama would commute his sentence as one of his final acts, will now forward his appeal to the Trump administration.
His lawyers, like the federal judge who sentenced him in 2015, believe his mandatory 20-year sentence was excessive and an example of why the nation’s drug laws need to be reformed.
Convicted of operating a marijuana farm with 1,000 plants, Tigano filed his clemency request at a time when members of Congress, including both Democrats and Republicans, are weighing changes to mandatory minimum drug penalties.
Years in the making, the push for reform comes from lawyers and judges who think too many nonviolent drug offenders are going to prison, and for far too long. They also point to statistics showing half of the federal prison population is serving time for drug crimes.