Opinion Piece by Mark Holden & Jason Pye
Monday, October 11, 2021
Saturday, October 9, 2021
1. ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE PRESENTLY ON HOME CONFINEMENT DUE TO THE CARES ACT
2. ALL NONVIOLENT PEOPLE SERVING SENTENCES FOR MARIJUANA.
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY WILL NOT HAVE INTEGRITY WHILE PEOPLE ARE BEHIND BARS FOR CANNABIS.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
The population of the federal prison system speaks to the administrations commitment to sentencing reform. So far it falls far short of the promises of mercy and compassion.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Thank you Stephanie Murray for this article in Input Magazine. Nonviolent people serving egregious sentences for marijuana need CLEMENCY from President Biden or they will die behind bars for a substance that is legal to some degree in the majority of states.
Just a few months ago, 61-year-old Craig Cesal was in prison in Indiana on a marijuana charge, serving a life sentence without the opportunity for parole.
When he was first arrested in the early 2000s, Cesal ran a business in Chicago that fixed trucks for a company in Florida. “They said since I knew some of the drivers were trafficking marijuana that it made me part of their marijuana conspiracy,” Cesal says.
On 4/20, Craig will be on a fishing trip in West Palm Beach with a group of other marijuana offenders who’ve managed to have their sentences reduced. “There’s a cannabis company that’s paying to fly a bunch of us former pot lifers down,” Cesal says. “Of course, Beth is going down, because we all have ties to her.”
The “Beth” he’s referring to is 79-year-old Beth Curtis from Zanesville, Ohio, the founder of , an amateurish little site she built in 2009 to raise awareness about people like Craig — or more specifically, people like her brother, John Knock, who was sentenced to two life terms plus 20 years for a first-time nonviolent marijuana-only offense. Beth has spent more than a decade aggressively advocating for federal clemency on Knock’s and others’ behalf, earning her the nickname the Mother Teresa of Pot Prisoners.
Friday, February 12, 2021
THIS IS THE BIDEN CHALLENGE GRANT CLEMENCY TO NONVIOLENT MARIJUANA OFFENDERS
In January, President Trump granted clemency to 7 individuals serving sentences of life without parole for marijuana and one with a sentence of 50 years.
These are sentences that assure that you will die in a cage for a nonviolent marijuana offence. Today, politicians are receiving campaign donations from cannabis businesses for a substance that is as illegal federally as the day these individuals were sentenced.
The marijuana industry has investments from politicians, entertainers, wall street, educators as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals who nibble in their investment portfolios. Cannabis is still on the Controlled Substance Act as a Schedule 1 drug designating it as more dangerous than fentanyl and oxycontin. To be consistent, marijuana businesses should be prosecuted in the same manner as these unfortunate nonviolent people.
The Cannabis industry and the criminal justice system cannot have integrity as long as these sentences stand.
President Biden can pardon this category immediately and right this wrong.
These are three people with life sentences for marijuana who need immediate clemency from President Biden. If criminal justice is a priority for this administration it needs to start now.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Sunday, December 6, 2020
THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WILL HAVE NO INTEGRITY AS LONG AS NONVIOLENT PEOPLE ARE SERVING LIFE FOR POT
Nonviolent marijuana offenders need clemency from President Trump. It would leave a legacy of mercy and compassion.
President Trump has supported legislation that has reduced the federal prison population by around 40,000.
Unfortunately Clemency Project 2014 only granted clemency to 11 nonviolent marijuana only offenders.
We believe in the current climate of legalization, this category cries out for sentencing relief and President Trump's process is compatible with granting them clemency.
Billy Dekle was incarcerated for 26 years for a nonviolent marijuana offence. These are his reflections about the cannabis industry and the criminal justice system,
Lake City, FL. 32055
I am a nonviolent marijuana offender who was sentenced
to life without parole in the l1th Circuit,
Northern District of Florida. After serving 25 years in federal prison, I was granted clemency by
President Obama in 2015.
are my reflections about this sentence and the billion-dollar growth of Cannabis business
enterprises. I am writing this in support of sentencing relief for nonviolent marijuana offenders who have been sentenced to life without parole and other egregious sentences for marijuana.
standing in the lobby of a legal dispensary in Colorado thinking is this for real. The odor of
what certainly smells like a nice crop of marijuana is filling my nostrils. A young woman in her
early thirties asks for my driver's license to verify that I am indeed 21 years old. Formality I am
sure as she can tell I am certainly over the age of 60. She proceeds to inquire about the product I
am interested in - Sativa or Indica?
begins to school me on the types and benefits of the herb. I let her proceed
for a few
minutes telling me how it has been used for centuries as a natural cure for a variety of ailments.
I stopped her, smiled and said I was in the pot business for many years back in the 70's until the
government put me out of business. She looked at me inquisitively. •
I explain that President Obama gave me
Executive Clemency three years ago. I had been serving
two life sentences without release, plus eight thirty-year sentences (a slow death sentence). All
this for the importation of what she was currently selling legally. In all I have served probably
30 years in prison for marijuana violations well over this young lady's lifetime. She was
as most people are that I tell my story to. They all ask me the same question,
that possible?" After telling me I am her hero I end up getting a free t-shirt for what she called being
"one of the founding fathers of the industry".
There is no one happier than me that society’s views on the marijuana industry have changed. It
is now considered a respectable business
question now is how it is possible that there are still people in prison for
the same exact
thing. Many of those are nonviolent offender who are elderly and have done decades in prison.
do not understand why an industry that is making billions on a product, legal
states, are not advocating for marijuana laws to be changed including the laws still holding those
in prison. Laws were broken and justice was served but sentences for life and decades in prison.
ridiculous for a product that is and has been beneficial to so many. It should
be revisited by
our government and citizens that make up our country.
I do not
understand why people with influence do not take up the banner for changes in
country. There are many celebrities that have enjoyed marijuana for decades who turn their
heads at the atrocities of the draconian marijuana laws. How can the cannabis businesses also
turn their heads and not speak out against an obvious wrong? Everyone should be soliciting help
from congressmen, lobbyist, advocacy groups, etc. We all have a voice and should use it, or we
too are turning our heads on the plight of these individuals.
William "Billy" Dekle
Lake City, FL
grew up on a farm in Northern Florida. As a child he dreamed of being a cowboy.
fantasy evaporated when he was in high school and discovered the thrill of flying. It was his
love then and after twenty plus years behind bars he still dreams of it.
in the 70s was a mecca for the pot smuggling cowboys. It was common and many
with a sense of adventure living in this hard scrabble area tried their hand at it. Billy was no
exception. His plane did not carry tons, but it was sufficient to pass the bar.
Billy was arrested in 1990 on a federal indictment he had several state
offenses, but the
law had changed and this was a much more serious situation. Because of the magnitude of the
charging, Billy went to trial and received the sentence that is common to nonviolent marijuana
offenders who are charged with conspiracy and go to trial- life without parole.
Billy was incarcerated he worked regularly and diligently for UNICOR - The Prison
Industry. He did exceptional work as a production clerk and was an asset to the Business Office.
His evaluations used phrases like: Preforms in an outstanding manner, Very knowledgeable and
through in his work, He expedites all assignments and Outstanding job.
was never a threat to society and had a loving family waiting for his release
after all those
Larry Duke was incarcerated for 23 years for a nonviolent marijuana offence. These are his reflections about the cannabis industry and the criminal justice system.
Kennesaw, GA. 30152
I want to support clemency for nonviolent marijuana offenders who are serving egregious sentences. These are my thoughts about why in the current culture; this is a sentence that does not fit the crime. In 2015 I received Compassionate Release in the 11th Circuit, ND of Florida. I was serving a life sentence as a nonviolent marijuana offender.
legalities aside, I applaud Wall Street's recent recognition and promotion of
industry as a boom market to potential investors. A new business concept which isn't all that
different from the mass market potential we first recognized fifty years ago.
1968 when I first began to dabble in the supply side of the business, the
demand for marijuana in the United States has steadily grown.
now, us old industry pioneers aren't allowed to participate any longer,
especially those of
us unfortunate enough to have been incarcerated for marijuana offenses.
of 1980, I was arrested by the DEA task force in Tenants Harbor, Maine and
with Conspiracy to Import with intent to distribute 18.7 tons of marijuana. After paying a fifteen
thousand dollar fine and serving 40 months on a 60 month sentence, I was released from federal
December 1989, I was arrested in Woodstock, Georgia on a Reverse Sting
charged with two counts. Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute over 1000 kilograms of
marijuana, and attempt to possess with intent to distribute over 1000 kilograms of marijuana.
In 1991, I received a sentence of Life without the Possibility of Parole
on each of the two counts.
In March of2015, I received a Reduction in Sentence motion from the court ordering Immediate
Release. I had served 25 years and 4 months.
home after a quarter of a century behind bars, was akin to landing on Mars. In
absence everything and everyone had changed dramatically, especially the laws and our society's
attitudes regarding marijuana. I was astonished to say the least, but when the former Speaker of
the House of the United States Congress came out publicly promoting investment in the
Cannabis Industry that was the straw that broke the camel's back!
same federal conspiracy laws still in effect and on the books that I was
violating in 1989, how can this new public open source conspiracy approach to promoting and
selling marijuana not be against the law?
has this new Wall Street approach been deemed legal, but there are still
hundreds of us
Pot Pioneers sitting in federal and state prisons with Life Sentences. Go figure!
it appalling. If federal and state prosecutors are not going to file conspiracy
these modem day Wall Street marijuana entrepreneurs, then at least be honest and bold enough
to order the release of all the pot people still wasting away in our nation's prisons and jails.
double negative business standard for the marijuana industry is compelling.
cities where the legal use of recreational marijuana has been approved and passed into law,
former marijuana conviction have been expunged.
enough, "IF" the federal government were to enact similar legislation
to expunge former
marijuana convictions, I would have no criminal record at all.
while Congress continues to drag their collective feet on this issue, thousands
innocent American citizens remain incarcerated on marijuana related charges.
grew up in Georgia and when he left high school he joined the United States
in Atlanta three weeks after President Kennedy was assassinated. This was on his 17th birthday.
Larry is a decorated Viet Nam Combat Veteran. He served with Delta Company 1st Battalion
Marine Regiment which saw combat in 1965-1966. He was discharged on Jan 28, 1968. His
assigned USMC Service # is 2085279.
worked for Unicorr and uses his time productively. He is a positive influence
He used his leisure time well reading researching and exercising etc. Larry probably was the
only Federal Inmate to hold a US patent and while incarcerated worked on another engineering
project producing a prototype for high speed ground travel. He has been working on this project
since his release and has recently received a patent.
his incarceration, Larry worked in the construction business for contractors in
Larry received a rare compassionate release as an elderly inmate even though he
has a large extended family that supported him throughout his incarceration and
returned to Georgia to live with his wife.
Saturday, November 28, 2020
HAMILTON - FEDERALIST - "Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed. The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel."
A fair and compassionate nation should error on the side of mercy
This is an article in the New York Post by Mark Moore and Steven Nelson.
At Life for Pot we hope for thousands of acts of mercy and compassion by the President using his unfettered power of clemency.
President Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security advisor, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials — the first of several clemency actions Trump is expected to take before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
NONVIOLENT MARIJUANA OFFENDERS NEED CLEMENCY
Friday, June 19, 2020
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Marijuana offenders serving life sentences and other egregious sentences have unique issues when applying for compassionate release and/or clemency.
1. All but two of them went to trial and received the trial penalty when then were sentenced. One of the two was sentenced without trial or plea when he did not want to testify against others.
2. Most all of them were charged with conspiracy, a charge that exaggerates their complicity in the acts they are tried for. They were held responsible for actions they were not involved in.
3. The sentencing disparity is enormous
4. They are serving sentences that mean death behind bars for a substance that is legal to some degree in 33 states.
5. Even though marijuana is still on the Controlled Substance Act as a Schedule 1 drug, marijuana businesses are investing billions and selling billions of dollars of the same substance. They are not being prosecuted as these defendants were.
Corvain Cooper 27797-177 Incarcerated since - 2013 Age - 40
Ferrell Scott 27787-177
Age - 57
Michael Pelletier 11109-036
Age - 64
Craig Cesal 52948-019
Age - 60
Ismael Lira 45946-180
Age - 42
Andy Cox 89487-020
Age - 56
Pedro Moreno 71498-079
Age - 60
Long Quoe Way 00047-111
Age - 57
Sunday, March 29, 2020
PIONEER IN ADVOCACY FOR PRISONER AND SENTENCING REFORM,
ALL ADVOCATES FOR JUSTICE STAND ON HER SHOULDERS
Had we listened to her we would not
be worrying about
corona virus spreading through our over crowded prisons like wild fire
by Nora Callahan
Executive Director of The November Coalition