Although the cannabis industry is experiencing accelerated growth, more than 40.000 people are still incarcerated for cannabis in the United States.
Mary Bailey is the managing director of The Last Prisoner Project (LPP), a non-profit dedicated to gaining the release of cannabis prisoners. On Thursday, she moderated a panel at Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference in which they discussed the effects of cannabis prohibition, and the transition of legacy cannabis to formal regulatory frameworks.
“I have a couple of legends from the industry, come on up everybody!” Bailey said as she welcomed Richard and Rick DeLisi, legacy operators and co-founders of DeLisioso LLC, Marie Montmarquet, also a legacy operator and co-founder of MD Numbers Inc; Willie Mack, CEO of Frank White and Stephanie Shepard from LPP.
L to Rt: Stephanie Shepard, Marie Montmarquet, Willie Mack, Rick DeLisi, Richard Delisi, Mary Bailey
The Impact Of Prohibition: Rebuilding Lives And Families Post-Incarceration
The panel members shared their experiences about the impact of prohibition and the importance of guaranteeing the integration of returning citizens.
Richard DeLisi served 32 years in prison (of a 99-year sentence) for smuggling cannabis and now has a legal cannabis brand name DeLisioso, which launched on 4/20 in Florida in association with Truelieve (OTC: TCNNF). Their product sold out in two hours.
His son, Rick DeLisi, who was eleven years old when his father was imprisoned, is now the CMO of the cannabis company. As a child, Rick experienced firsthand the effects of cannabis prohibition on families. “When my father went to prison (…) I saw my whole father's family side crumble. It is traumatic for everybody, and after a while, everybody starts to lose some sort of faith in the correctional system,” Rick said. “Almost every family member he had passed away while he was in.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie Shepard received a ten-year federal prison sentence in 2010 as a first-time non-violent offender. She served nine years. She now …