A Missouri Nonprofit is Working to Free Those Incarcerated for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Updated: May 24
Legislation passed in 2018 that made medical marijuana legal in the state of Missouri. Medical cardholders in the Show Me State have been able to get natural relief since dispensaries first opened their doors in October of 2020. Unfortunately, the justice system has yet to catch up, and many individuals serving time in Missouri prisons are being punished for something that is no longer against the law.
Many Still Incarcerated for Non-Violent Marijuana-Related Offenses
Now that medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, it makes sense to take a look at past laws and those convicted of breaking them, especially those who were given harsh sentences. During the “war on drugs era,” the courts often sought to make examples of those found guilty of marijuana-related crimes. Many of those sentences are still being served to this day.
Jeff Mizanskey was serving a life sentence in a Missouri prison for selling marijuana. He spent more than two decades behind bars for a nonviolent offense. He was arrested in 1993 and if public opinion hadn’t begun to shift, might very well have spent the rest of his life in prison.
Luckily, public opinion surrounding cannabis use has begun to shift, and his son was able to gather more than 400,000 petition signatures, and former Missouri governor Jay Nixon agreed to commute his sentence in 2015.
Many inmates who are still in prison for similar charges don’t have family members out there gathering petition signatures, fighting for them to be released. Instead, they are serving time for marijuana-related crimes in a state where marijuana is legal for anyone who has their medical card.
The Canna Convict Project
The people behind the Canna Convict Project are working to help those who are serving time for nonviolent cannabis-related crimes. They are working to secure the release of these prisoners, and are following through by creating exit plans to help with their reintegration into society.
Some of the work the Canna Convict Project is doing includes helping Missourians expunge their records, providing housing assistance, helping with job placement, providing specialized job training, and mental health services.
The Canna Convict Project is connected to the Last Prisoner Project, a national nonprofit organization that also focuses on freeing Americans who have been incarcerated for victimless cannabis-related crimes. We previously profiled The Last Prisoner Project among several other marijuana-related nonprofits who are making a positive change in the world.
The work of organizations like this can be daunting. There are currently around 40,000 Americans currently incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. At the same time, the legal cannabis business is booming. Marijuana sales in the United States brought in over 25 billion dollars in revenue in 2021. The disparity of those two statistics makes it clear that something needs to change.
Reintegration Is Vital to Convicts Returning Home
In addition to the legal help that the Canna Convict Project aims to provide, their mission includes helping convicts reintegrate into society after coming home. This is one of the most important parts of their mission.
When a prisoner comes home, it can be difficult to get a job. The Canna Convict Project is working to help expunge the records of those who were convicted of cannabis-related crimes so that they can gain employment in a way that doesn’t allow their former conviction to follow them around like a weight of shame for the rest of their lives.
Job training is also a crucial component, as well as help finding housing and mental health services. Oftentimes, when a person is released from prison, they face an uphill battle that leaves them with very little survival options. They are tossed into a world that they don’t know how to navigate.
When many of these convicts went to prison, marijuana was illegal, even for medicinal purposes. Now that they are released, they are entering a world where patients are treating hundreds of conditions with legal cannabis. They are walking into a society where cannabis is being de-stigmatized to the point that many colleges are even offering courses in the marijuana field.
The Canna Convict Project wants to help these individuals find gainful employment, a safe place to live, and give them resources to deal with the mental health issues that may arise as they face a world full of changes.
While the Canna Convict Project still has a lot of work to do, they have made a very real difference in the lives of some Missourians. Here are some examples of the individuals they are helping:
Their work helped to get Seth Wiggington released from prison in March of 2020.
The Canna Convict Project helped get Charles White out of Leavenworth Prison after serving five years of a ten year sentence for growing cannabis.
Christoffer Simpson was released on parole after serving eight years of a 25 year sentence in 2020.
Raymond Breer is receiving help from the Canna Convict Project in his defense against unreasonable prosecution after treating his bipolar disorder with legal medical marijuana. Although he has a medical marijuana card, he was arrested for possession because the cannabis is a violation of his probation.
Relief is legal. Why wait?!
Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Missouri. If you’re ready to experience the natural relief that cannabis provides, all you’ll need is a Missouri medical marijuana card. If you need help getting your card, that’s what we’re here for! Our physicians are standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. Schedule an appointment with a marijuana doctor online by CLICKING HERE, or give us a call at (877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri!