The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) with the Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party and The Redemption Foundation has raised $30,000 in donations towards the Michigan Cannabis Prisoner Release Campaign towards expungements.
The progression of cannabis within this country has called for a need for criminal justice reform. Through interventions, advocacy, and awareness LPP, has dedicated its mission through engagement and campaigns. Long time supporter of LPP and advocate, TV host Montel Williams has a personal history with Michigan cannabis reform, stating, “Michigan’s failure to address restorative justice as part of cannabis legalization shocks the conscience.” Williams was arrested in a Detroit airport for possession of a pipe in 2002.
The 10th state to legalize marijuana, Michigan has had success towards the additional tax revenue and opening of dispensaries around the state but has fallen short of dealing with expungements. “Over the past years, arrests typically involved simple drug possession offenses, which accounted for 85-90% of all drug arrests. Small-time marijuana possession arrests accounted for around 40%.” based on a report by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.
Under the LPP, the Michigan Cannabis Prisoner Release Campaign aims explicitly to secure the release and record expungement of nonviolent offenders like Rudi Gammo, Michael Thompson, and many other nonviolent Michigan cannabis prisoners. Rudi Gammo is currently serving more than five years for operating a medical dispensary, where medicinal marijuana passed in 2008, and Michael Thompson, serving over 25 years for selling 3 pounds of marijuana to an undercover cop.
Regarding Michigan’s reform, Williams elaborated on Gammo and Thompson’s cases after holding Gov. Whitmer accountable. “Governor Whitmer made a campaign promise and yet somehow, because her parole board refuses to perform its statutory duty in a timely fashion, Michael Thompson remains in a Muskegon prison, now in his 25th year behind bars for selling three pounds of cannabis to an undercover officer in a crime that hurt no one. Rudi Gammo, who operated a medical dispensary in Detroit and only sold to patients with valid medical cards, is serving more than five years in prison. I got the celebrity treatment when I got arrested, and the disparity between my outcome and the outcomes for Michael and Rudi haunt me. Madam Governor, it’s long past time to empty Michigan’s prisons of nonviolent cannabis offenders.”
Additionally, the Michigan Cannabis Release Campaign donated $10,000 to the family of Rudi Gammo, whose 6-year-old son was recently diagnosed with leukemia. So far, donations have been attributed to leaders in the Michigan cannabis industry like Michigan Supply & Provisions (MS&P).
Earlier this year, MS&P partnered with LPP after acknowledging the critical role current cannabis companies play in the push towards correctional reform. “We cannot sit idly by and watch people like Michael Thompson sit in jail for doing something that we now are legally allowed to profit. Mr. Thompson has more than paid his debt to society and should be freed,” said MS&P Founder and CEO Francis Perullo. To boost donations, MS&P now offers its customers the opportunity to donate at all of their locations. Many contributions towards the fund include multiple cannabis industry leaders like Bullit Budz, Real Leaf Solutions, and Great Lakes Holistics.
Each contribution to the Michigan Cannabis Prisoner Relief Fund will release Michigan cannabis prisoners, reentry resources (from housing to transportation), and all other essentials towards rebuilding their lives.
More information on where to donate.