Unlocking Justice: Aloha Green & The Last Prisoner Project’s Fight for Cannabis Reform

Connecting Legislation with Aloha: Each start of the new year on Oahu brings another round of Hawaii’s legislation sessions. For those not as highly involved with politics, this means that once a year lawmakers, important decision makers, and the community members come together to review the current laws on cannabis and vote on decisions for the future of the industry. Many subjects are covered in a small period of time: What will a recreational market look like, what are caregivers allowed to do, the definition and legalities of grow sites, new products being introduced in the medical market, and so much more.

Amongst all these discussions, one of the many topics that we do not want legislation to gloss over and forget is social justice for those who have been incarcerated for non violent cannabis crimes. Some of you may be thinking.. this kind of stuff happens in Hawai’i? Yes it does.

As a Dispensary, we follow the strict guidelines that the Department of Health sets up for us. We follow the legal system’s rules in order to pave the way for some sort of development towards a recreational market. With our good AND bad experiences growing as a dispensary, we often work hand in hand with the DOH and our governments. Sometimes people may be confused that dispensaries may seem against the small grower, or even the black market but the reality is we quite admire the legacy market. To be transparent, we do not believe people of Hawai’i should be unfairly prosecuted for non violent minor cannabis crimes. The lines between a legal market and a grey market is very fine, and we do not believe people should be wrongfully convicted for cannabis crimes.

While the dispensary can contribute significantly to advancing cannabis into a recreational market, there are limitations to what we can achieve alone. That’s why we’ve chosen to partner with the Last Prisoner Project once again as our community donation recipient. Their expertise in supporting individuals prosecuted for cannabis-related offenses, both nationally and locally here in Hawaii, makes them a nonprofit organization deeply connected to our community.

Introduction of Last Prisoner Project: In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis legalization, it’s crucial to remember those who have been unfairly impacted by outdated laws. The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis industry by advocating for and assisting those incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses. In this blog, we’ll delve into the mission of LPP, revisit our previous discussion on the importance of criminal justice reform, and list relevant resources from the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH).

A Brief Overview of the Last Prisoner Project: The Last Prisoner Project is committed to redressing the injustices faced by individuals imprisoned for non-violent cannabis offenses, even as legalization sweeps across the nation. By providing legal assistance, advocacy, and reentry support, LPP aims to secure freedom and rebuild the lives of those unjustly incarcerated due to outdated cannabis laws. The Last Prisoner project has been active in Hawai’i legislation for about 2 years now. They have been not only been active in our legislation, but also with partner w/Hawaii Innocent Project and the HI ACLU to help reshape social policies on cannabis.

“The War on Drugs and the criminalization of cannabis have created a racially inequitable criminal legal system that has disproportionately impacted people of color, including Native Hawaiians. We at the Last Prisoner Project (LPP) believe that no one should suffer the collateral consequences of cannabis criminalization.” – LPP Policy Makers.

 

Revisiting Previous Discussions: In our previous blog post, ”Reefer Madness: The War That Started Over a Plant” we went over the history of the war on drugs and its effects in Hawai’i. Regrettably, our islands continue to grapple with its repercussions, but there is hope on the horizon. This legislation session shows a movement to address social injustice and make sure it is recognized by policy makers

“We commend Representative David Tarnas for introducing HB 1595, which will begin to address the injustices perpetrated during cannabis prohibition through the creation of a state-initiated expungement process for individuals with a criminal record for cannabis possession.” -LPP Policy Makers

Linking to DOH Resources: For those seeking more information on cannabis laws, regulations, and resources in Hawaii, the Department of Health offers comprehensive guidance. In Hawai’i, the DOH regulates medical cannabis dispensaries to ensure the highest quality lab tested cannabis is offered for our medical patients. We recommend all of our new patients to visit DOH’s website to refresh on current cannabis laws.

Our ‘Ohana’s Voice Matters: We love it when our 329 community comes together to have health conversations! Aside from monetary contributions, there are several impactful ways to support the Last Prisoner Project and advocate for cannabis reform:

  1. Write to the Department of Health: Your voice matters in shaping cannabis policies and promoting criminal justice reform. Visit the DOH website to learn how to submit testimony and make your voice heard.
  2. Get involved: The current legislation session is ongoing until May! As a member of the community, you are allowed to attend these public sessions to better inform yourself on new changes to the law, and let your voice be heard in testimonials.
  3. Engage in Advocacy Efforts: Stay informed about legislative developments related to cannabis reform and participate in advocacy campaigns led by organizations like LPP. Follow their social media channels, sign petitions, and amplify their message to effect change. Follow Aloha Green Apothecary’s instagram for more updates as AGA continues to support LPP’s mission this year.

We’ll match donations!

You many notice the community donation boxes up at every register at Aloha Green Apothecary. We will be collecting donations for LPP from now though July. These donations will help LPP to continue to their mission to right the wrongdoings that the War on Drugs had on people in Hawaii. In July Aloha Green Apothecary will match monetary donation for LPP.

****The Last Prisoner Project continues to lead the charge in advocating for the rights of individuals unjustly incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses. By raising awareness, supporting their initiatives, and actively participating in advocacy efforts, we can all play a role in driving meaningful change and fostering a more just and equitable society.

Let’s stand together in solidarity with those impacted by cannabis criminalization and work towards a future where justice prevails for all.