NEW YORK —
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s groundbreaking cannabis proclamation, Last Prisoner Project (LPP), the leading nonprofit dedicated to freeing everyone incarcerated for cannabis, is urging further action with the release of our State of Cannabis Justice Report.
On October 6th, 2022, President Biden announced historic steps toward ending the era of cannabis prohibition in the United States by pardoning over 6,500+ individuals for cannabis offenses. While it offered hope to thousands of individuals, no one was actually released from prison. In addition, President Biden initiated a scheduling review of cannabis, which would also not free any of the approximately 3,000 people still incarcerated at the federal level for cannabis.
President Biden’s proclamation also encouraged governors nationwide to follow his lead by pardoning individuals convicted of cannabis-related offenses at the state level. Given most people incarcerated for cannabis are at the state level, LPP has amplified this call by sending thousands of letters from the public urging their governors to grant cannabis clemency through our Pardons to Progress campaign. LPP is also uplifting the voices of those harmed by cannabis criminalization through our Pen to Right History campaign, voices like Richeda Ashmeade, whose father is serving a 22-year sentence for cannabis. While we commend the steps taken by President Biden so far, we urge the President to right history by granting broad cannabis clemency–which he could achieve with the stroke of a pen.
Now, one year later, LPP is releasing our landmark State of Cannabis Justice Report. As it stands, 23 states have enacted adult-use cannabis legalization, but every state’s path to legalization looks different. The report aims to provide a quick and easy-to-read reference guide on each state’s commitment to delivering retroactive relief by assessing the status of record clearance and resentencing and executive actions such as pardons.
Justice is not achieved through mere legalization alone but by undoing the harms caused by cannabis prohibition. Twenty-four states have enacted cannabis-specific record clearance laws, and ten states have enacted cannabis-specific resentencing laws. Our report allows the public to compare, contrast, and learn more about each state’s effort to ameliorate the consequences of cannabis conviction.
As we mark the first anniversary of President Biden’s cannabis proclamation, Last Prisoner Project reaffirms its dedication to the pursuit of justice, equity, and compassion. We remain committed to dismantling the harmful legacy of the War on Drugs and ensuring that those affected by cannabis prohibition are not forgotten.
About Last Prisoner Project:
The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is a national, nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform with the goal of releasing every last cannabis prisoner and helping them rebuild their lives. As the United States moves away from the criminalization of cannabis, giving rise to a major new industry, there remains the fundamental injustice inflicted upon those who have suffered under America’s unjust policy of cannabis prohibition. We work to redress these harms through legal intervention, constituent support, direct advocacy, and policy change.
Visit www.lastprisonerproject.org or text FREEDOM to 24365 to learn more.