Richard DeLisi has spent more than 30 years in prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses. DeLisi was sentenced to 90 years in prison in 1989 after being charged for conspiring to traffic 1,500 pounds of marijuana from Jamaica into America. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, DeLisi may be released on Dec. 4, 2020,, following the worsening conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and his failing health.
A not-for-profit group, Last Prisoner Project, describes DeLisi as the country’s longest-serving marijuana offender. The organization strives for criminal justice reform for cannabis-related offenses. Lawyers from the organization have been working to help secure the release of Richard DeLisi from the Palm Beach County, South Bay Correctional Facility.
Rick DeLisi, his son, expressed the excitement and joy he felt now that his family would be able to make memories with his father, citing that he was looking forward to knowing more about his father. He explained that the burden of the imprisonment of his father had weighed heavily on him growing up, adding that many of Richard DeLisi’s loved ones, including his parents, one of his children and his wife, had died while he was in prison; another daughter was in their remaining paralyzed after a car accident that left her badly injured.
The organization is working diligently on DeLisi’s release, given that he may be susceptible to COVID-19, as he has suffered a set of strokes and has arthritis, hypertension and diabetes. Last week, 86 staff members and 421 inmates at the same facility that’s housing DeLisi had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Advocates for DeLisi claim that his sentencing was merely to use him as an example to others. This is plausible, given that the sentencing came barely two months after former President George H.W. Bush appointed America’s first drug czar and founded the Office of National Drug Control Policy, ushering in the war on drugs.
There seems to be progress being made, however, with marijuana being legalized in 15 states across the country now. Additionally, Florida, the state where DeLisi was sentenced and imprisoned, is among the 34 states in the country with a medical marijuana program.
However, we still have a long way to go, given that in 2018, 663,000 arrests were made by law enforcement officers for marijuana-related felonies. According to data from the FBI, this made up 40% of the total number of drug arrests made in 2018.
The passing of legalization laws in different jurisdictions has allowed the cannabis industry to grow faster than had been imagined. One of the companies driving this growth in Canada is Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL). This firm extracts cannabis compounds and has branched out into the functional mushrooms space.
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