As conversations around law enforcement and criminal justice reform continue as incidents of police brutality continue to spark protests across the country, many cannabis companies have made moves in recent months to support social equity initiatives and justice reform. Much of that effort has been channeled by the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit dedicated to legalizing cannabis and releasing and expunging the records of those who have been arrested and served prison sentences for cannabis offenses.
LPP seeks the release of every inmate imprisoned for marijuana offenses and to help them reintegrate into society after their time in prison.
And as the urgency for criminal justice reform has increased, so has support from cannabis dispensaries, who have boosted efforts to contribute – and encourage their customers to donate – to the LPP during the past few months, says Sarah Gersten, executive director and general counsel of LPP.
“A lot of our fundraising at LPP does come from the industry and from cannabis consumers,” Gersten says . “That kind of goes back to our ethos and reason for being, which is that our founders were actually all successful or in some way had profited off of the cannabis industry. And so, they really recognized if they were able to build wealth in this industry, they had to give back to those still suffering because of the impact of prohibition.”
Much of that fundraising happens at the point of sale, with dispensaries setting up donation programs to raise funds. One such dispensary is Chalice Farms which is based in Portland and operated by Golden Leaf Holdings.
Chalice Farms donated a percentage of sales made on Juneteenth, the June 19 commemoration of the end of slavery after the Civil War, as well as pledged a commitment of $12,000 over the next year to the