Picture a perfect Sunday afternoon sitting in your favorite chair, listening to your favorite album, packing a bowl of your favorite greens. You pull out your phone and book a flight and rental car to make it out to see your family this year. In this one moment, you exercised 6 freedoms taken away from individuals who have been arrested on cannabis possession charges right here in your hometown.  

 

The freedom to listen to whatever music you want, the freedom to book a trip and travel using a credit card, all seem to be so minor in our lives but take them away and your life will never be the same.

 

The ILLICIT Freedoms Campaign sheds light on an unbalanced criminal justice system condemning cannabis offenders. This year, we feature 8 prisoners of the 'war on drugs', also known as POWs, who served their sentence and are free to share their life changing stories. Like many POWs, the fight for freedom and civil liberties show lasting effects on their lives in an everyday way.

 

Each POW's time held in prison cost taxpayers roughly $120 per day based on the average annual COIF for a Federal inmate in a Federal facility in 2020. The rate of arrests for cannabis offenders is 9% higher than those arrested for violent offenses, all in the name of "deterrence" in a "members only" legal market. 

 

Sharing their stories weekly on our Instagram (@illicitgardensmo) and their full unedited audio segments on our website (www.illicitgardens.com), our goal is to explore the need for criminal justice reform for cannabis offenders. 

FEDERAL REGISTER

NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS

FREEDOMS CAMPAIGN

CORVAIN COOPER

After a Lakers game in 2009, Corvain was pulled over driving his friends home where he admitted to 1lb of marijuana and a bottle of codeine in the trunk of his car.

KYLE PAGE

Whether the system gets better or not, I am going to be successful.”

ROBERT FRANKLIN

He was sentenced 22 years without the possibility of parole for a pound of marijuana after pulling off at a “drug checkpoint” on the highway. Robert served 11 of those years

donte westmoreland

"Where I’m from, a felony is not freedom. Where I’m from, with housing loans, banking loans, it's all setting me up for failure in the future." 

EVELYN LACHAPELLE 

"Staring at my peep toe shoes, I cannot get the thought out of stabbing myself in the neck with my very own heel,"

NataliA Wade

“Get things on your own so you don’t have to ask anyone for anything…You’ve got to get out and get something early on in age.”