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Celebrities, cash and questions: A new force roils the cannabis prisoner-release movement

The Last Prisoner Project brings fund-raising heft to a long-starved cause, but its fellow advocates say it isn’t necessarily a team player.

With a founder who is one of the pot world’s most legendary activists and a board that includes Jim Belushi, Melissa Etheridge and two sons of Bob Marley, the Last Prisoner Project attracted fans from the moment it sprang on the West Coast charity scene in the spring of 2019, calling on cannabis enthusiasts to help secure the release of people convicted of marijuana-related crimes.

Now it’s getting attention for a different reason: pushback from would-be allies who’ve toiled for decades on the same cause.

The star-studded group known as LPP has amassed major financial commitments from cannabis companies by arguing that an industry dominated by white businesspeople is flourishing while tens of thousands of disproportionately Black and brown people remain in prison for marijuana-related crimes. That made it one of the richest sources of funding for a cause that has consumed pot activists for decades: bringing justice to those imprisoned for trading in what is now a legal product in 15 states.

But there are rampant questions about whether that money is being put to its best use. Interviews with more than a dozen cannabis industry insiders and social justice advocates revealed widespread anger toward LPP. [Read More at Politico]

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