FAIR Trials, with help from the Last Prisoner Project, is looking to the legal cannabis industry, and others, to support an effort to redress the harm caused by cannabis prohibition and to secure relief for those in prison for cannabis-related convictions. The criminal justice reform-focused NGO hopes that the industry will support its work in countries across the globe where cannabis laws are being liberalised. Through collaboration with local partners in appropriate jurisdictions, the Fair Trials’ project will identify people in need of legal assistance, and recruit, train, and match volunteer lawyers to take on their cases.
More and more jurisdictions are allowing adults to use and distribute medical and adult-use cannabis, and to legally engage in the business of cannabis. But after decades of prohibition, countless people across the globe remain behind bars, or otherwise continue to suffer the collateral consequences of a cannabis conviction.
“The injustice of cannabis prohibition has resulted in millions of people worldwide serving time in prison or being saddled with a cannabis conviction, which brings with it a lifetime of harmful consequences, ranging from education and employment opportunities to immigration status and parental rights,” said Fair Trials Global CEO Norman L. Reimer.
“Of course, these harmful effects of prohibition not only impact the individuals charged, but also their families and communities. And those effects have been borne disproportionately by minorities, communities of colour, and the socio-economically disadvantaged. Legalising cannabis alone does not equal justice. Together, we must address the ongoing harms of past prohibition and leave no cannabis prisoner behind.”
The project will be modelled on the U.S. Cannabis Justice Initiative, a collaborative effort between the cannabis industry and volunteer lawyers in the United States. When Norman Reimer was the Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), he partnered with the Last Prisoner Project to establish this initiative.
“Key to the success of the initiative has been generous donations from legal cannabis companies and consumers nationwide,” said Last Prisoner Project Co-Founder Steve DeAngelo. “Fair Trials, with its global reach as the world’s criminal justice watchdog, is uniquely positioned to build and house the infrastructure that’s going to be needed.”
On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at 4:30 pm, Norman Reimer will address the Cannabis Europa Conference concerning this effort. Mr. Reimer will be part of a panel entitled ‘Leave No Cannabis Prisoner Behind,’ and will be joined on that panel by Mary Bailey, Managing Director at the Last Prisoner Project; Dr. Laura Garius, Policy Lead at Release; and Denzel Uba, an individual impacted by criminal cannabis prohibition.
To find our more about the project, please contact Fair Trials’ Global CEO Norman L. Reimer at [email protected] and Fair Trials’ Consultant for Special Projects Ivan J. Dominguez at [email protected].