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Awareness Effort ‘Free The Homies’ Helps Those Serving Time for Cannabis

Hannah (Izer) Vysoky

By Hannah (Izer) Vysoky

May 19, 2022

A partnership has been established between Washington

company, , and a Seattle-based artist, . This awareness effort is being launched to help people who are still incarcerated for cannabis-related charges.

Solstice, founded in 2010, has been a shift in the attitudes and laws surrounding cannabis, but there is still a lack of consistency in the nation’s cannabis laws. The company started by serving patients who used medical marijuana and evolved from there.

The CEO of Solstice, Will Denman, told

, “We really focused on legalization, on medical cannabis, and fast forward 10 years – we accomplished that in Washington state, we accomplished that in a lot of states in the U.S., and so many people feel like the battle’s kind of over, but it’s not.”

Solstice launched an artist series passionate about elevating local and community voices through its products and platforms. However, when they contacted Phillips, he proposed a campaign that drew waves of attention and raised money. This led to “Free The Homies,” an initiative working with the Last Prisoner Project.

The

consists of cannabis industry leaders, criminal and social justice advocates, education and policy experts, and leaders within the social justice and drug policy reform working together to end this fundamental injustice. According to the Last Prisoner Project, over 40,000 individuals are currently imprisoned on cannabis-related charges.

“Even the establishment we’re in right now, they’re selling cannabis, but people who got locked up a while ago are still doing time on it,” Phillips shared to King 5 News. “So it’s a systemic issue, but I’m happy to have partners that see the issue and want to bring awareness to it.”

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Free the Homies Artwork Pays Forward

The “Free the Homies” artwork includes two different designs: one is inspired by Monopoly’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card, and another depicts

. He is currently serving a life sentence. Russel, 38, was sentenced to life in Forrest County in 2019 after a jury found him guilty of possessing more than 30 grams (1.05 ounces) of cannabis. Russell appealed his life sentence stating that it constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment and is grossly disproportionate” to his crime of cannabis possession.

While the Court of Appeals disagreed in its majority opinion, stating that the life sentence follows Mississippi law. 

But – several dissenting judges argued that the court can (and should) make exceptions. “The purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish those who break the law, deter them from making similar mistakes, and allow them to become productive members of society,” Judge Latrice Westbrooks shared with AP News. “The fact that judges are not routinely given the ability to exercise discretion in sentencing all habitual offenders is completely at odds with this goal.”

Phillips states, “what we’re advocating for is that they expunge the records and release the prisoners.”

The artwork, along with pre-rolls, will be on sale at

and . A donation will go to the Last Prisoner Project. They are directing people to the Last Prisoner Project, the Drug Policy Alliance and the ACLU for further education.

The CEO of Solstice shared with King 5 News, “When Teddy brought up the idea of Last Prisoner Project and wanted to put a voice to some of the issues we still have with the amount of people we still have in jail for cannabis-related crimes, it was a no-brainer,” Denman said. “It’s kind of the next step in the process for us, and at Solstice, we feel like we’ve accomplished so much, but there’s still so much left to do.”

Hannah (Izer) Vysoky

About The Author

Hannah (Izer) Vysoky

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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