Illicit Gardens launches Freedoms Campaign to raise funds, awareness for cannabis POWs
Kansas City, Mo. — One Missouri grow facility and dispensary is shedding light on the hypocrisy in the legal system toward people imprisoned for cannabis offenses.
With the launch of its Freedoms Campaign, cannabis brand and social justice advocate Illicit Gardens (ILLICIT) has partnered with the Last Prisoner Project (LPP) to provide donation dollars to individuals imprisoned under cannabis possession charges. Together, the two organizations fight for criminal justice reform around cannabis at the local and national legislative levels.
In partnership with LPP, Illicit Gardens will feature eight “prisoners of war” (POWs) over the year-long campaign, an allusion to the U.S. war on drugs. The campaign will share cannabis offenders’ stories and perspectives through videos and exclusive interviews.
“We believe Missouri and the United States as a whole have reached an important tipping point in our collective consciousness around cannabis reform,” said ILLICIT CEO Adam Dilz. “The Freedoms Campaign drives forward our mission to free the more than 40,000 cannabis prisoners convicted of an activity that’s no longer a crime.”
The launch of the Freedoms Campaign coincides with the release of a new product line, West by Illicit, which is the brainchild of freed cannabis POW Donte West. West was sentenced to eight years for a cannabis first offense in Kansas, where he fought his sentence and ultimately secured his release with a dismissal of all charges.
Thirty percent of the proceeds from the sale of West by Illicit will be donated to a rotating list of Missouri’s incarcerated cannabis prisoners to assist with their legal and reintegration fees.
“I feel I have the opportunity that my other fellow cannabis prisoners do not. ILLICIT gave me the opportunity to foster a relationship with the Missouri community through my medical cannabis products, which is very powerful given the fact I was sitting in prison for it a year ago,”West said.
“The Freedoms Campaign is monumental to the movement. We’re highlighting inspirational injustice stories in the hopes that the community will make a change. Voting your leaders into office is so important, but you must inspire voters through stories to make that change.”
The Freedoms Campaign also arrives at a timely moment for Missouri legislation, as state reps are currently debating a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Hicks (R) that would legalize marijuana possession for individuals over the age of 21.
Each POW’s time in prison cost taxpayers roughly $120 per day based on the average annual cost of incarceration (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.
For information on the campaign or to donate or get involved, visit https://www.illicitgardens.com/freedoms. Illicit Gardens will also share weekly stories on their Instagram account, @illicitgardensmo, and full, unedited audio segments on their website, illicitgardens.com.
About Illicit Gardens
Illicit Gardens is a Missouri-based cannabis brand that’s highlighting the hypocrisy in the legal system through criminal justice and drug policy reform. ILLICIT keeps a watchful eye on every part of the cannabis cultivation and manufacturing process to ensure the highest quality products while also partnering with local and national advocacy groups to overcome marijuana prohibition and support the release of cannabis POWs. Learn more at illicitgardens.com.