For many, the holidays are a time to reflect on the year, gather with loved ones and give back to communities we feel drawn to help. This year, WeedTube would like to highlight organizations giving back and bringing awareness to our cannabis prisoners and encourage users to become WeedTube penpals… don’t worry, we’ve got a step by step guide laid out later in this blog!
“Imagine sitting in a cell for years, decades, or even for life, convicted of an activity that is no longer a crime, while thousands of other people build intergenerational wealth doing exactly the same thing. That is the situation that over 40,000 cannabis prisoners face today in the United States alone, while countless others languish in jails and prisons worldwide. The Last Prisoner Project has one singular mission: to set them free.”
Countless cannabis arrests still occur daily. Thousands of advocates are raising awareness and funds to grant individuals who are just being released or still serving time for cannabis-related charges. While cannabis is now being legally researched and sold, not all states have worked out solid expungement programs to clear cannabis offenses from an individual’s criminal record. Meanwhile, in states where it is still illegal to possess or sell cannabis, expungement programs are non-existent and people continue to have their livelihoods destroyed by outdated laws.
Working to help those targeted by the War on Drugs is no easy task. Often this means digging into the gritty side of cannabis law, the impacts of the war on drugs, and the politicized dynamics of our current justice system. Easier ways to get involved include spending some time learning about the organizations and brands like The Last Prisoner Project, The Weldon Project, etc. Lastly, you can help by sharing knowledge and resources with your friends, family and followers!
The Last Prisoner Project (LPP)
The letter writing program is working to let cannabis prisoners know we are fighting for them! Last year, LPP hosted a holiday letter writing drive and helped over 3000 cannabis prisoners receive letters showing them that they are not forgotten and are being advocated for. You never know, your message may cheer someone up during the holidays… pick a WeedTube penpal here.
“To all the writers in this program THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for writing to me and all the other inmates too! It has truly made me see that people do care and we do matter to humanity! I can't wait to be able to show the love and understanding to others in my position when I get out!!! Can't wait to hear from you!! Thank you" - Juanita Kinsey
Other Organizations To Watch
If you’re looking for other ways to give back during the holidays, consider hosting a fundraiser for Last Prisoner Project or another cannabis nonprofit:
· The Weldon Project is dedicated to funding social change and financial aid for those who are still serving prison time for cannabis-related offenses.
· Cannabis Doing Good aims to create a purpose-driven cannabis network, showcase companies doing good, and set the standard for social responsibility in the cannabis sector. They recently launched the Cannabis Impact Fund, working to promote racial justice, heal the planet and support communities in need. They are currently working to raise money for the following five organizations:
· Freedom Grow also has a pen pal program along with their advocacy work to help cannabis prisoners regain freedom. Additionally, they support cannabis prisoners through “The Wish Program” which helps prisoners gain access to commissary money, books, magazines, family outreach, and public education.
· 40 Tons is a social impact brand working to bring more diversity and inclusion of BIPOC communities into the cannabis space by providing second chances to those with previous cannabis convictions. They have a WeedTube page documenting the journey, be sure to go subscribe!
While some people are making millions of dollars in the booming and growing “legal cannabis industry,” it is important to acknowledge the tens of thousands of people that remain in prison for cannabis-related offenses. Starting off with something as small as a letter this holiday season could easily brighten the day of someone unjustly incarcerated for cannabis.
Special thanks to Betty Blazed for providing media graphics and a letter writing guide!
Ariana is a multimedia artist, cannabis advocate, and content creator based in Montana. Passionate about people and the planet, she finds purpose in helping plan and execute ideas striving for social and environmental improvement. She aims to be a conscious consumer and thought leader, believing that the cannabis community is key to changing the narrative of what it means to be a “stoner.”