The war on drugs led to the imprisonment of thousands of black men during the 1980s and 1990s when nonviolent drug offenders were sentenced to decades in prison, at times, for buying and selling marijuana.
A Chicago-based cannabis company is now working to uncover harsh penalties for recreational marijuana use as it has become legal in many states. Cresco helped produce a short film about the sentencing of Michael Thompson, a Michigan man who was sentenced from 42 to 60 years in prison for an arrest for marijuana.
Michael Thompson was convicted in 1994 for selling three pounds of pot to a close friend turned police detective. This arrest led to a search of his home, where the police found weapons. Although the guns were not used to sell marijuana, Thompson was convicted on two counts of firearm possession and drug related charges. A short film documenting his story was shown earlier in March and was shown in Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
“I have been contacted by the non-profit organization, And when I learned about their mission and some of the stories and components they’re working with, I felt like this would be a great partnership to see if I could kind of help. “And when I found out about Michael’s story, and started talking to him, I felt like there was a connection there,” said the film’s director, Kyle Thrush. “His story is obviously not only a gross injustice, but I also got the feeling that he wanted to tell his story and I felt like he was that charismatic guy who is also very vulnerable and we have these very emotional phone calls that I feel can help spread his story.”
Thompson, who was pardoned and released from prison in January last year, says he hopes his story and this film will help others who are unjustly imprisoned.
“This is my mission. It feels really good for others to see the pain I have endured,” Thompson said. “I am grateful to Kyle and the entire team for putting it out there for others to see. And maybe they can feel what I’m feeling, and it’s a huge pain, and I want them to see Corrections Management to see what Corrections Management really is and what it’s really doing to the family and it’s tearing the family apart.”
Thompson spent a total of 26 years behind bars. He was released from prison three years after Michigan’s recreational marijuana leave.