Restorative Justice Series: Lucas Loy

By Victoria Martinez 

Lucas Loy is now entering the age of 30 with the success of getting his case sealed, which was a result of an incident that took place when he was a 17-year-old high school student.

In 2007, Loy was approached by another student, who he describes as an outcast. The student wanted help obtaining small quantities of cannabis, which he knew Loy, and his friend frequently smoked together. Loy thought it would be harmless to help the fellow student, and did so for roughly three months. 

To Loy’s surprise, the student was working undercover with the police department, a fact only discovered on Loy’s last drop off. 

While making his way to drop off the cannabis, he had picked up a friend, Dorian. Before the drop-off, Loy dropped Dorian off a few blocks away so he wouldn’t scare his classmate.

Photo Provided by Lucas Loy

“He just happened to be with me, he wasn’t involved at all so I let him know I was going to drop him off a few blocks away so we wouldn’t spook him,” says Loy.

Loy and the student had created a familiar routine after hours at his home in an apartment complex to bring him the amount of cannabis he needed when he would grab cannabis for himself and other friends. This drop-off, however, would be different; it was orchestrated to arrest him with drug charges. 

“I’m talking to the guy and I tell him to stay on the phone with me as I am pulling in and he told me he was standing outside, but there was no one in the front yard,” says Loy. 

After checking his surroundings, he noticed a Buick parked nearby. But he didn’t think anything of it—not until his car was boxed in at the end of the street by officers, who aggressively removed him from the car while yelling, “where is the bud at?!” 

Loy recalls it was aggressively asked over and over again, but he had hidden the cannabis inside of his car seat in order to avoid the cannabis being visible to anyone outside of his car. In addition to being forcibly removed from his car, he was questioned and his car was searched for the weed. While the cops didn’t find the weed in his car at that present moment, they got the chance to strip Loy’s car in search of the evidence, which they eventually found. 

Photo Provided by Lucas Loy

When it was founded, Loy recalls an officer saying, “We got you now, we found your stash and we are going to make an example out of you” says Loy. 

While being taken to jail, Loy’s car was driven to the station by another cop. But, his friend Dorian who he had dropped off a few blocks away, didn’t realize it was an officer—not Loy— driving his car when he waved him over to pick him up.

“They took my car and followed down the path to the police station, but my buddy Dorian I feel so bad for him [because] he flags down my car thinking it was me,” says Loy. 

Dorian was arrested, and taken down to the police station to be processed and charged. He sat across from Loy, who was charged with seven cannabis-related charges. While there, the cops let Loy know that they had been following him, listening to his phone calls, and had witnessed him picking up and dropping off cannabis multiple times. 

Loy, only 17 years old at the time, sat in a cell for two days, trying to reach his family, but was unsuccessful. He went through the phonebook to find his great aunt Harriet’s phone number who was the middle man to get in contact with his parents.

“She called my grandma and my grandma called my parents, [who] were just waking up and turning on the morning news to hear “local student Lucas Loy charged with class 3 cannabis felony,” says Loy. 

Loy was charged as an adult. He served a month in prison before he was bailed out. He continued to meet with a probation officer, and take drug tests, which he failed for four to five years. As a result, he was put back in jail multiple times. 

Eventually, he had to dip into his college savings to pay off $30,000 in court and lawyer fees to fight his case. 

Now, in light of the Black Lives Moment, Loy reflects on being a white man—and the difference it made in his case. He recognizes that he was treated differently than a person of color would be treated in the eyes of the law. 

Though Loy experiences PTSD from the arrest, he believes he was privileged because he was able to afford bail.

Loy now lives in Chicago and has successfully gotten his case file sealed, but this is the first step towards getting his complete record expunged and rid his record of felonies in hopes of starting over and being able to enter the cannabis industry. 

He is working to have his criminal record pardoned, which is being handled by the judge’s son that charged him when Loy was a teenager. As a lengthy process, Loy has come across the next generation of a family full of judges and employees of the legal system that decided to use him as an example. 

The pardon would be step one of the two-step process to get his record completely expunged, but because he was jailed multiple times, he would have to go in front of the court to plead his case. 

Loy now spends his time raising awareness about recreational and medical cannabis. He also creates music. However, he is unable to perform at venues since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit. 

He is politically involved, and actively supports Bernie Sanders through the Facebook page, Flip the Senate and Keep the House 2020

After being arrested at 17 years old, and charged as an adult, Loy still wants to be part of the cannabis industry once his record is cleared.


Cruel Consequences: Portraits of Misguided Law is a portrait exhibit designed to educate communities and erode the stigma of cannabis criminalization. Portrait stories are available to community, advocacy, and industry events to promote awareness and provoke dialogue that encourages viewers to question assumptions and actively engage in undoing the damages of cannabis prohibition. Find them at cruelconsequences.org and on social media at @cruleconsequences.                             

Emerald contributor since June 2020

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