Over the past year LPP, together with other activists and criminal justice reform organizations, has been working with the White House and the Office of the Pardon Attorney to advocate on behalf of several federal prisoners incarcerated for marijuana offenses.
Yesterday, we were overjoyed to learn that at least a dozen of these individuals — many of whom were serving life sentences without the possibility of parole — received clemency grants from the White House. Mercifully, only hours after the announcement, ten people — including LPP constituents Corvain Cooper, John Knock and Way Quoe Long — were released from federal prison. You’ll be hearing directly from them in the coming days, but in the meantime you can learn more about these grants and their beneficiaries by checking out recent coverage in Leafly, The Chicago Tribune, Marijuana Moment and Yahoo News.
Corvain Cooper after being released from prison in Pollock, LA on January 20
Words cannot express how proud and humbled we are to have had the opportunity to play a part in securing pardons and commutations for these incredibly deserving individuals. And while there’s still much work to be done, knowing that Corvain, John, and Way — amongst others — have been reunited with their families has given us much-needed hope during this incredibly difficult season.
Understandably, the past 24 hours have been quite a whirlwind for our constituents and their families. Still, in every conversation we’ve had our recently released constituents all made a point to express their immense gratitude for LPP’s generous and fierce supporters. It goes without saying that we couldn’t have helped procure these “second chances at life” without the invaluable contributions from everyone who shared these stories, wrote letters, advocated for freedom, and donated to our programs. For that, we’re incredibly grateful.
We’d also like to express our deepest gratitude to JaneAnne Murray, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the pro bono attorneys from NACDL’s Trial Penalty Clemency Project for co-sponsoring Corvain, John and Way’s applications with us. We’d also like to thank Patrick Megaro, David Holland and Beth Curtis of Life for Pot — as well as our friends at the Aleph Institute, The Weldon Project, and CAN-DO Clemency — for their tireless advocacy on our constituents’ behalf. Without the sponsorship and support of our fellow freedom fighters, these releases would not have come to fruition.
And while we’re over the moon that Corvain, John, Way and others were finally able to secure some of the justice they’ve so long been denied — there remains the devastating reality that tens of thousands of others continue to suffer behind bars due to our country’s unjust and unwise policy of marijuana prohibition.
To borrow from Amanda Gorman’s already-seminal The Hill We Climb, “being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into — and how we repair it.” We look forward to living that truth as we work with the Biden Administration to ensure the release of additional cannabis prisoners in the coming days, months and years.
If you’re able, please consider assisting our constituents’ and their families rebuild their lives by donating directly to them via this link.