LANSING, MI — The Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition (MCFC) is pleased to announce that Michael Thompson , a long serving Michigan cannabis prisoner, was released this morning at 8am EST. After 23 years behind bars, Thompson was granted clemency by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer on December 22, 2020.
MCFC is a group dedicated to providing a fresh start to those who have been harmed by the criminalization of cannabis, with founding members including The Last Prisoner Project, The Redemption Foundation, FORCE Detroit, OrganizingTogether Consultancy Group, and The Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party.
Michael Thompson was arrested in 1994 after selling three pounds of cannabis to an informant in the Flint Area Narcotics Group. While no guns were used during the sale for which he was arrested, officers later found guns in his home and in a locked safe. Michael, who had previously committed drug-related felonies, was convicted of five counts for the offense.
He was sentenced to 10-15 years for the marijuana counts and 42-60 years for the firearm possession counts, culminating in a draconian sentence that gave him the first opportunity for release at the age of 87. While in the Michigan prison system, Michael contracted COVID-19, for which he was particularly at risk due to his age and Type 2 diabetes.
Sarah Gersten, Executive Director and General Counsel of Last Prisoner Project and founding member of MCFC, said, “Today marks a momentous occasion for Michael Thompson, his family, and his countless supporters throughout Michigan and across the country. Unfortunately, it also serves as a stark and somber reminder of the thousands of cannabis prisoners who remain behind bars while others profit off of a now legal industry.”
Ryan Basore, owner of the Redemption Cannabis brand of products and founder of The Redemption Foundation stated “there is a lot of attention on the rapid growth of the cannabis industry right now but, for me, the most important aspect of legalization is ending draconian sentences for people like Michael Thompson and others across the country. All of us who advocated for his release look forward to helping him rebuild his life and become a contributing member of his community.”
MCFC aims to secure the release and a clean slate for Michael Thompson, Rudi Gammo and all Michigan cannabis prisoners.
ABOUT THE MICHIGAN CANNABIS FREEDOM COALITION (MCFC)
MCFC’s mission is to provide a fresh start to those who have been harmed by the criminalization of cannabis through clemency, commutation, expungement, pardons, reducing restrictions, and education. The group’s founding members include The Last Prisoner Project, The Redemption Foundation, FORCE Detroit, OrganizingTogether Consultancy Group, and The Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party.
ABOUT THE LAST PRISONER PROJECT
The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cannabis-related criminal justice reform. 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. Through intervention, advocacy and awareness campaigns, the Last Prisoner Project works to redress the past and continuing harms of these inhumane and ineffective laws and policies. Visit www.lastprisonerproject.org or text FREEDOM to 24365 to donate and learn more.
Josh Hovey, Martin Waymire