Top 6 Non-Violent Cannabis-Related Sentencings

In the last decade, there have been great strides in cannabis reform. But the reality is that thousands of people are still incarcerated for non-violent cannabis-related charges. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the longest and most shocking sentences and touch on The Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit set out to free everyone who is locked up for non-violent cannabis charges. So, let’s get into it!

1. Kevin Allen

The Bossier Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force targeted Kevin Allen and used an informant to solicit weed from him. Allen sold the informant $20 worth of weed. The state sentenced him to 10 years of hard labor and, shortly after, because of previous drug charges, increased the sentencing to life imprisonment without the opportunity for parole despite having zero non-violent charges. Kevin’s sentencing was later amended after a judge deemed it excessive, and he granted Kevin the possibility of parole; however, he is still behind bars today, his future unknown.

2. Andy Cox

Andy Cox was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 2005 for growing cannabis on his father’s property in Georgia. After serving 12 years in prison, attorneys at the Last Prisoner Project and Goodwin successfully argued that the life sentence came from an outdated sentencing regime. Andy has now been released and is a free man thanks to the Last Prisoner Project’s federal compassionate release program.

3. John Knock

John Knock was involved in an illegal Canadian and European cannabis importation group in the 70s and 80s. He decided to change his life in 1987 and remove himself from the organization; however, in 1994, as a stay-at-home dad, he was sentenced to life in prison. John spent 23 years behind bars before being granted clemency, thanks to a petition sponsored by the Last Prisoner Project and the NACDL Trial Penalty Program.

4. Christopher Butler

In 2017, the state of Mississippi sentenced Christopher Butler to a mandatory 30 years in prison for possession of marijuana. The original sentencing was 24 years but was then enhanced by another 6 years for prior possession charges, none of which involved violent acts. Christopher is still behind bars today and will serve until 2046.

5. Edwin Rubis

At 23 years old, Edwin Rubis was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a non-violent cannabis offense. The charges happened in the mid-90s when Edwin was struggling with drug addiction. He had incurred a sizeable debt with drug dealers who soon after underwent a DEA investigation and put the blame on Edwin for a reduced sentence. Despite never being found with weapons, drugs, or money, he received a 40-year sentence, which he is still serving today. Edwin had since a college degree in Religious Education behind bars, and there is currently a petition to support his release.

6. Richard DeLisi

When it comes to the longest cannabis-related sentences, Richard DeLisi broke the record in 1988 when he was sentenced to 90 years for a non-violent cannabis charge (conspiracy to traffic and racketeering). Twenty-eight long years later, Richard was finally released for good behavior, and his story has since become the forefront of many cannabis reform organizations, such as The Last Prisoner Project, calling for drastic changes in the current legal structure.

Support Cannabis Reform with The Last Prisoner Project

Each day, the United States seems to be inching closer to the federal legalization of cannabis. However, with more than 30,000 people incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses, it’s too early to start celebrating. The Last Prisoner Project is leading the cannabis reform charge and freeing wrongfully sentenced individuals. You can support their efforts via their website and various fundraising events.