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The Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition began as weekly informal gatherings of grassroots organizers, lawmakers, and advocacy groups beginning in the summer of 2020.  The singular goal of the initial meetings was to release those incarcerated in Michigan for marijuana-related offenses.  Our first collaborative action was contributing to a letter sent to Governor Whitmer initiated by Last Prisoner Project and signed on by 43 Michigan businesses calling for the release of all cannabis prisoners, specifically naming Michael Thompson and Rudi Gammo.


In January 2021, we officially came together under the banner of the Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition. We will continue to unite cannabis reform advocates, criminal justice reform organizations, prison abolitionists, progressive leaders, and justice-impacted individuals concerned with eliminating the criminalization of people on the pretense of a cannabis “crime”.  The coalition is currently united behind a proposal put before the Whitmer administration by The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Families Against Mandatory Minimums to begin a statewide clemency project for marijuana prisoners and others harmed by over incarceration.


In just a few short months of informal meetings, our coalition: 

  • Helped achieve the commutation of Michael Thompson’s sentence

  • Raised tens of thousands of dollars to provide direct assistance to those impacted by prohibition including commissary funds for those currently incarcerated;

  • Helped file the commutation for and publicize the case of marijuana prisoner Rudi Gammo;

  • Met with Attorney General Nessel’s office to present the NACDL/FAMM Clemency Project;

  • Obtained from the AG a letter in support of Michael Thompson’s release;

  • Obtained from the AG’s office a list of approximately 2000 names of prisoners with sentences based on or potentially enhanced by the presence of marijuana; and

  • Began contacting marijuana prisoners, learning their stories, and sharing them with the broader public.


  • Reduce the prison population in Michigan by obtaining the release of those incarcerated for victimless cannabis offenses through the Cannabis Clemency Program

  • Collaborate with legislators to reduce barriers to entry in the legal cannabis industry for those disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs

  • Organize and execute lobby days

  • Assist individuals re-entering society with support services, financial assistance, and employment opportunities

  • Support individuals in sealing, clearing, or expunging criminal records through education, financial assistance, and process navigation

  • Educate and engage the community at large on issues related to the coalition’s overall goals

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