Somewhere over the past six months cannabis went from a fledgling industry tied down by regulation and seemingly endless obstacles, trying to find its way, to an ‘essential’ business that—despite potentially life-threatening viruses—should remain open even when almost all other retail businesses are forced to shut their doors. This, in and of itself, is a trip to think about, however when you remember that there are still thousands of citizens across the world sitting behind bars for offenses that would not only be considered legal now, but in many cases deemed ‘essential’, you start to realize how close to the beginning of this fight we truly are.
You see, there was a big, big misstep that’s occurred thus far in the legalization movement – and while it’s not the most surprising development, the issue is glaring: that the pursuit of profit has far outweighed the pursuit of justice.
Sure, we all want to get high, and have legal businesses, and make money—but we didn’t get here overnight—and for decades before we were both state and federal governments used the War on Drugs as a tool to lock up non-violent offenders as they saw fit… and they were good at it! It’s hard to find a complete number, but estimates show that since 1995 there have been between 1-1.5 million arrests thanks to the War on Drugs annually—which comes in around 25-37.5 million people arrested in the past 25 years alone (approximately half of the length of this supposed crusade) by basic math. Turns out upon legalization, in most cases, no one felt the need to tell the prisoners.
Enter the Last Prisoner Project. I’ve written about them before for those that care to look, but their mission, now more than ever, is timely and important so I’ll say it again. This is something all of us, not just those in the industry, but lovers of the plant, should support and believe: We’re not really legal until all of us are free.
The thing is, belief doesn’t pay the bills, and it certainly doesn’t free our guys, so LPP has picked up the slack of the industry to do the hard work and bring everyone home – but they can’t do it without our support. I know we’re all facing COVID right now, and times are tough, but if we think we’ve got it bad, imagine how much worse it could be if you were being held against your will. It’s on us to help get EVERYONE home.
Here’s How You Can Help:
- DONATE: LPP is currently taking donations to both help get prisoners out entirely, and to protect them from the threat of COVID-19.
- VOLUNTEER: LPP has an ongoing need for help with online advocacy (petitions & letter writing) and occasional in-person advocacy (where possible)
- SIGN THE PETITION: Encouraging our President to act and protect those who are locked up from the threat of COVID-19
- GET INFORMED: Sign up for LPP’s mailing list to stay up to date with all the initiatives they’re working on, and how you can support them.
I want to close this with a note LPP received from one of the prisoners they’re working to get out. The brilliance here is hard to miss. His name is Michael Pelletier, and he’s serving life. You can read more about his story here, buy his art to fund his commissary, and know that all of your efforts to help support LPP will contribute to bringing him home. Thank you in advance for whatever support you could provide!
An Ode To A Prisoner Of The “War” On Marijuana
My name is Michael Pelletier
Today I am a 64 year old man serving a life sentence in a federal prison in America
As a prisoner of the ill informed, ill advised, ineffective and senseless
“War on Marijuana”
Where a sense of despair and spiritual emptiness is never far away
imposed by the omnipresent oppression that dominates our daily life in prison
Where in such a dark place and dire circumstances
the work of ‘the Last Prisoner Project’ & others
And it’s readers and supporters like you,
brings true sustaining light to this darkness.
As a ‘Prisoner of the War on Marijuana”
A casualty of the age old outdated thought beliefs and misconceptions about marijuana use and its many benefits
I am locked away in a prison for life based on ignorance
However it is people like you and the many advocacy groups, associations, magazines
As well as a changing society supported by leading experts that have advanced the cause to legalize the use of this natural plant and reshaped the political and legislative landscape to make legalization a reality all across america
To those few areas, those few states who still resist
You ignore the facts and science
Let me say my own refrain
“Let their opposition…. Go up in smoke!”
I find great comfort in knowing that there are people who can see me and my personal circumstances not as a criminal per se
But a victim of the fight against marijuana by a foolish crusade or puritan pursuit by moral social zealots
Acting on the ill-informed philosophy and feigned moral outrage
While at the same time driving drunk, abusing or neglecting children, abusing prescription medication, addiction to pornography, while ignoring the homelessness, poverty and daily assault on our climate
Who would rather engage in a hypocritical campaign to criminalize a plant, a natural wonder, given to us by our creator
A natural medicine used for thousands of years by people
Societies who had the knowledge and wisdom to discern and appreciate the truly incredible healing qualities and medicinal purpose to treat illness of mind body soul and spirit.
“A War on Marijuana”
“A War invokes the image of death and destruction. Winners and losers among nations.”
“A Cure invokes the image of life and hope, where all of mankind triumphs”
Why do we have wars? Why a war on marijuana? A war on drugs.
A war on poverty, a war on homelessness
Why can’t we have cures instead?
A cure for addiction,
A cure for income inequality,
a cure for housing shortages.
Wars are inherently about adversarial differences rather than collective collaborations.
If we could just learn to focus our energy on the cure, not the fight,
We could replace the strength of our individual indifference with the will and force of our common strength to win the battles of life.
By a Prisoner of The War on Marijuana