According to the Associated Press, state law allows for a life sentence without parole if a person spent a year in prison on two separate felonies. One of the offenses have to be a violent one in order for the law to be enacted. The state law for marijuana notes that possession of weed between 1.05 and 8.8 ounces only carries a sentence of up to three years, a $3,000 fine, or both.
Despite the low-level crime, Russell was previously convicted on two home burglary charges and reportedly spent two years in prison for unlawful possession of a firearm. Because of that, his life sentence was upheld due to his “habitual offender” status related to past incidents he was arrested for.