Cannabis was made recreationally legal in California on November 8, 2016, with the passing of Proposition 64. With this action, it joined several states including Washington, Oregon, and Colorado in decriminalizing marijuana possession and usage.
Leading up to this turn of events, countless individuals across the country had been incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana-related crimes, such as possession of a controlled substance. Not only were they incarcerated, but many of them are still serving life sentences despite possession of marijuana being decriminalized in their state. For example, a man named Michael Thompson is serving a life sentence in Michigan for selling cannabis to an undercover police informant. He is currently 68 years old, with 35 years remaining in his sentence even though marijuana is now legal in Michigan. In California, Corvain Cooper was arrested and dealt a life sentence in prison for participating in a small distribution operation. The life sentence was a result of him refusing to testify against others, as well as the “three strikes law.” Legislation has since changed in California, but Cooper’s punishments have not been reconsidered.
What is the Last Prisoner Project?
The Last Prisoner Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring justice to these extreme punishments and spread awareness of the prisoners’ dilemmas. They advocate for the release of these prisoners — provided the crimes they committed were nonviolent — so that they may be reunited with their families.
The Last Prisoner Project has 3 main facets of its program: release, reentry, and scholarships.
Although the Last Prisoner Project is only a few years old, they have already accomplished a great deal across the nation. Here are a few of their achievements in different states:
For more information, visit www.lastprisonerproject.org.
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