The Last Prisoner Project and Roll it Up Program
The War on Drugs has been a colossal failure, has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and has been another devastating tool of systemic racism. Cannabis use is roughly equal among people of color and white people, yet Black people are almost four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession. Enforcing cannabis laws costs the U.S. about $3.6 billion a year, yet the war on cannabis has failed to diminish its use or availability. 40,000 people are currently incarcerated in the U.S. for cannabis possession and related nonviolent crimes. Despite making up just 31.5% of the U.S. population, Black and Latino people account for 46.9% of people arrested for drug law violations. (Drugpolicy.org) Moreover, arrests for cannabis possession continue to outpace those for all violent crimes combined. (ACLU)
That disparity is the result of drug legislation and enforcement that has targeted Black people for generations. As Harper’s Magazine’s Dan Baum wrote in 2016, in 1994 Nixon aide and Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman revealed to him that, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.” He continued, “We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
We support the Black Lives Matter movement and its quest for social, racial and economic justice. We acknowledge that people of color are disproportionately affected by cannabis criminalization and we must embrace our responsibility to right the injustices that have been done.
Recently, we partnered with the Last Prisoner Project to raise awareness and support their criminal justice reform initiatives. The three main initiatives of the Last Prisoner Project are “prisoner release, record clearing through clemency and expungement, and reentry programs.” The organization also uses a portion of funds raised to lobby for social justice criterium within states that are currently forming tax-and-regulate legislation. We will share their voice from our platform to inspire critical thinking, community action and donations to effect real and permanent change.
We are implementing LPP’s Roll it Up program at each of our medical cannabis dispensaries and Ceres Natural Remedies locations. You will now be able to “roll up” your change for the cause. Since April, our registered patients and their caregivers have already contributed over $1,000. Learn more about the specifics of the program here.
What you can do right now:
- A great way to stay informed is to follow the Last Prisoner Project on Instagram and Facebook.
- Kush.com is holding a series of live Webinars followed by a Q & A with LPP. The first one (the Real Impact of a Felony Conviction) is tomorrow, Wednesday, June 24th. Learn more and register here.
- The Last Prisoner Project has been campaigning for the expedited release of Michael Thompson by Governor Whitmer of Michigan. Thompson has been in prison in Michigan for 25 years for selling 3 lbs. of cannabis to an informant. Michael is now in his 60’s, was recently diagnosed with diabetes 2 and is at risk of contracting Covid-19 in prison. Go to FREEMICHAELTHOMPSON.COM and follow prompts to email Governor Whitmer to request that Michael’s request for clemency gets expedited before it’s too late.
“The number of prison inmates known to be infected has doubled during the past month to more than 68,000. Prison deaths tied to the coronavirus have also risen, by 73 percent since mid-May. By now, the five largest known clusters of the virus in the United States are not at nursing homes or meatpacking plants, but inside correction institutions, according to data The New York Times has been collecting about confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic reached American shores.” – New York Times