Cannabis Prisoner Luke Scarmazzo Released

Cannabis Prisoner Luke Scarmazzo Released
cannabis now

A California man who spent nearly 15 years in federal custody for operating a state-legal medical marijuana dispensary was released from prison last week following a years-long campaign by family and restorative justice advocates to secure his freedom. Luke Scarmazzo, who was dubbed California’s last cannabis prisoner by marijuana policy reform advocacy group CalNORML, was freed from federal custody on Feb. 3 in response to a compassionate release petition filed on his behalf in 2019. In 2006, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided the medical dispensary Scarmazzo and his business partner Ricardo Montes were operating in compliance with Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot measure that legalized the medicinal use of cannabis in California. In May 2008, they were convicted for operating a continuing criminal enterprise. Scarmazzo was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months behind bars, while Montes received a 20-year sentence. On Jan. 5, 2011, a federal appeals court upheld the convictions of Scarmazzo and Montes, denying them a new trial. “We followed California law to the letter,” Scarmazzo said about their convictions. “We paid our taxes. We went to work every day providing a benefit and service to the community. Yet in the end, we were made out to look like common criminals.” In May 2017, Montes was granted clemency by President Barack Obama, but for some unknown reason, Scarmazzo was left in prison. He was disappointed once again when President Donald Trump left office in January 2019 without granting Scarmazzo a pardon as many advocates expected him to do. Luke Scarmazzo with his daughter. PHOTO Courtesy of Clemency Campaign Secures Scarmazzo’s Release Scarmazzo’s case has received considerable attention and many criminal justice advocates including Weldon Angelos, a former cannabis prisoner who was pardoned by Trump in 2020, had taken up the cause for clemency. The two had…

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Source : Cannabis Prisoner Luke Scarmazzo Released

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