Although cannabis has varying levels of medical and recreational legalization across the United States, police across America make a cannabis-related arrest every 58 seconds. The fact of the matter is, cannabis is still illegal on a federal level. Until it’s fully legalized across the country, individuals will continue to be imprisoned for non-violent cannabis offenses. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help support America’s cannabis prisoners (and help prevent individuals from being imprisoned for minor cannabis infractions in the first place.)
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best ways you can help support a cannabis prisoner in your state.
Contact your representatives
If you’re aware of a particular prisoner in your state who, in your opinion, you feel has been unjustly incarcerated, you can make an impact by contacting your local representatives. While you can certainly contact your Congressional representative or your Senators, it may be more effective to lobby someone who is easier to access. Not only are they easier to get in contact with, but they have direct access to decision-makers. Write letters, make phone calls, or contact them over social media. If you can gain the support of local lawmakers regarding a specific individual, they may be able to impact policy in favor of legalization, too. You can find your local representative here.
Note: even if you don’t know the name of a particular prisoner, contact your representative anyway! You can still let them know your thoughts on the injustice of continuing to imprison people for minor cannabis infractions.
Support a non-profit
Whether you support them financially or by donating your time, one of the best ways to help supportAmerica’s cannabis prisoners is by supporting a non-profit. One of our favorite cannabis non-profits is the Last Prisoner Project. We wrote an entire blog on their mission, impact, and programs, but in short, they’re a non-profit that’s dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform. They concentrate on prisoner release, reentry assistance, and record expungement, among other things.
CULTA works closely with the Last Prisoner Project, and a percentage of all apparel purchases are donated directly to this important organization. Browse our apparel and make a difference today.
Get out there and vote
It might sound cliche, but getting out there and voting is literally the best thing you can do to make a change in the world around you. Your vote does matter. To stay informed and educated on various ballot measures that are related to cannabis and may require your attention, connect with cannabis advocacy groups in your state on social media, sign up for their email newsletters, and read cannabis-specific publications for the latest news.
By making an active effort to stay informed and showing up to vote, you’ll be impacting policy in favor of cannabis legalization and record expungement.
Spread the word
One of the best ways to gain support for a cause is to get personal. Set up a Go Fund Me for the family of an incarcerated individual or contact the local news station or newspaper to inquire about a feature. Tell the people closest to you why cannabis legalization is so important and how it can directly impact a certain individual and their family. You can also encourage people to join you by sharing posts on social media, joining you at rallies and other events, or by writing letters in support of the incarcerated.
Oftentimes, word of mouth is one of the best ways to spread awareness -- and it’s also the easiest!
Connect with prisoners
Have you done all the above and are still looking for ways to help? If you’d like to support a cannabis prisoner on a personal level, reach out to them and say “hi!” By participating in the Last Prisoner Project’s letter-writing campaign (or another similar program in your area), you can connect with a prisoner and let them know you’re thinking about them. The Last Prisoner Project made it super easy, too -- they have a PDF with the names, addresses, and stories of currently incarcerated prisoners.
Have other ideas? Connect with us on social media to share how you’re making a difference in the life of a cannabis prisoner in your state. We’re always looking for new ways to show support. Curious about other cannabis non-profits you can get behind? Take a look at some of our favorite cannabis non-profits.