Cannabis News

Last Prisoner Project urges NJ governor to free cannabis prisoners

Lawyers push Gov. Phil Murphy to grant leniency to state’s non-violent marijuana offenders

Monday January 10, Last Prisoner Project led a coalition by publishing a open letter to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The letter urges Governor Murphy to grant emphatic clemency to all marijuana offenders currently incarcerated in New Jersey state prisons. Although the state legalized cannabis for medical use in 2010, and adult use a decade later, the letter maintains that “hundreds of them remain in prison or on probation.”

Since 2019, The Last Prisoner Project has been working with families in states across the country to secure phone calls, medical care, commissary funds, and legal fees for cannabis offenders. As New Jersey rolls out its adult use market in 2022, LPP demands justice for those who still pay the price for racist marijuana laws that have been unfairly enforced for decades.

The letter says:

“The state of New Jersey is expected to bring in up to $ 173.5 million a year in tax revenue from the sale of legal cannabis… (Meanwhile) hundreds of people are still languishing in state prison or continue to suffer the collateral consequences of a cannabis offense. in the state. “- Letter from the last draft prisoner to the governor of New Jersey

The coalition behind the Last Prisoner Project letter includes the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP, rapper and Newark Redman native, the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association (NJCTA), the New Jersey Policy Perspective, and the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition, among others.

Police have used cannabis prohibition as a pretext to harass and arrest black people and other people of color for decades. Police services do not only enforce these unjust laws, they help create them, protect them and increase the human suffering that results from them. (Adobe Stock)

Speak out for affected families

A resident of the defended NJ is Humberto Ramirez. Days after NJ residents voted to legalize adult recreational cannabis in 2020, Ramirez was sentenced to seven years in state prison for transporting six pounds of weed.

The prosecution removed a loving husband and devoted father from his family and placed him behind bars to the detriment of state taxpayers. Ramierez’s family continues to suffer daily as the state and other residents happily take advantage of the plant.

In addition to speaking out against the hypocrisy of the legal market, advocates have also stressed the need for relief as COVID-19 ravages prisons statewide. Due to protocols that lasted throughout the pandemic, residents like Ramirez have been barred from seeing their loved ones and have not been able to access adequate medical care.

While the Last Prisoner Project acknowledges that New Jersey has taken positive steps with “provisions for automatic expungement and limited re-conviction,” the nonprofit argues that “current efforts should be accelerated so that cases of those who remain in jail for cannabis – related crimes in New Jersey are addressed before others begin to profit.

The incalculable human cost

The letter tells Governor Murphy that the current pandemic “underscores the urgent need to intelligently and safely reduce prison populations.” In addition to the pandemic, the letter cites the long-term damage prolonged incarceration has on individuals, families and communities.

A publish on the LPP website quotes Governor Murphy himself saying, “Our current marijuana ban laws have failed all social justice tests – maintaining the status quo that allows tens of thousands of people of color, disproportionately, to be arrested each year in the world. New Jersey for minor drug offenses is unjust and untenable. ”

The authors of the letter state that “mass incarceration has devastated families and communities, caused untold human suffering and economic loss, and placed a tremendous burden on limited state resources.” The letter continues: “Our criminal justice system’s obsession with long prison terms denigrates the fundamental notion of human redemption. When you consider the lost opportunities and the economic impact of this national project, the bottom line is incalculable.

Take action and join the movement

Last Prisoner Project website includes a state cannabis leniency initiative designed to address the challenges that would arise from the distribution of leniency grants. The organization plans to work with governors and relevant state agencies nationwide to design leniency protocols, a selection and application process, as well as recruitment, training and free legal assistance for petitioners.

With this letter, LPP and its coalition call on citizens around the world to “denounce the hypocrisy of imprisoning people for cannabis-related convictions while others are allowed to generate millions in profits.” Whether it’s reaching out to local officials or providing support to sentenced voters, the organization insists that “your voice can be part of our advocacy for Humberto and others unjustly imprisoned for wrongdoing. cannabis-related crimes “.

To add your name to the New Jersey Cannabis Clemency petition, click on here. To view a full copy of the letter and a list of coalition members, click here.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this letter, please contact Sarah Gersten, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Last Prisoner Project, at

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