Bill Levers and Jeff LeversJune 11, 2020

Michael Thompson, now 69, was sentenced to 40-to-60 years in jail for promoting three kilos of marijuana in 1994. In Michigan, the place cannabis is now authorized, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is Thompson’s solely hope of getting out of jail alive. (Leafly illustration/Photo by way of Last Prisoner Project)

Editor’s word: An expanded model of this text first appeared on the Beard Bros Pharms media web site. 

In 2018, Michigan voters handed Proposition 1, or the Michigan Taxation and Regulation of Marijuana Act, establishing a authorized market for cannabis. That statewide business raked in $31.9 million in its first three months, January by means of March of this 12 months.

As the title of the brand new legislation implies, Michigan established a taxed and controlled market for cannabis out there to any grownup aged 21 or older.

Well… not fairly any grownup.

Michael Thompson is 69-year-old Michigan man who at the moment resides in the Muskegon Correctional Facility. He’s 25 years right into a 40-to-60-year sentence handed down for promoting three kilos of weed in 1994. Thompson is now the longest-serving nonviolent offender in Michigan historical past. And he wants our assist.

Doing time nevertheless it’s not against the law

Selling marijuana is now authorized in Michigan, however Michael Thompson stays in jail for an motion that is not against the law.

After having three appeals denied, together with two earlier makes an attempt at clemency, advocates for Thompson see a gap proper now. He is eligible for clemency once more this 12 months, and there’s renewed hope {that a} new Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, might lastly set Thompson free.

Thompson’s newest clemency petition has been fortified by greater than 20,000 letters from supporters, together with help from Genessee County Prosecutor David Leyton, who wrote that Thompson’s sentence “goes against the interests of justice and fairness”.

The 69-year previous Thompson has a virtually spotless 25-year jail report and is battling Type 2 Diabetes.

With many states ramping up coronavirus compassionate-release packages—geared toward lowering the sentences of aged, nonviolent, health-compromised inmates—now is the time to get Michael Thompson house and protected along with his household.

A name to motion

Now, greater than ever, we want your assist to set Michael Thompson free. We are asking that you simply name and request that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expedite Thompson’s request for clemency. We can’t enable a cannabis sentence to turn out to be a demise sentence for Michael.

Make your voice heard and let’s free Michael Thompson now!

(517) 373-3400


Michael Thompson: “Explain to me how you can take another person’s life and get less time than I did.” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will quickly hear his clemency enchantment. (Photo courtesy of Last Prisoner Project)

Born and raised in Flint

A real little one of Flint, Michigan, Michael Thompson realized early to make do with out whereas rising up in the 1960s. A beginning guard for 3 seasons on the Flint Central High School basketball group, Thompson went on to serve his nation in the U.S. Navy.

Honorably discharged from the Navy, Thompson accepted a job with General Motors. As the standard of life in Flint declined, Thompson stayed in his hometown and is credited with squashing turf wars between native gangs. He was granted the NAACP Youth Award and was even given the “Key to the City” at one level.

This was the 80s and 90s, although, and shit was wild as a few of you already know. Thompson had his share of run-ins with the legislation all through his maturity, relationship again so far as 1982. A overview of native courtroom data reveals that Thompson had been convicted of three cocaine-related offenses by the early 1990s.

That made his cannabis sale probably his fourth felony offense beneath state legislation, branding him with the label of Habitual Offender—which may compound his sentence if convicted.

The case: a $4,200 weed sale

Back in 1994, Thompson thought he was coping with a homeboy. The dude asks him for 3 elbows, then they agree on a value of $4,200. Thompson tells the man to kick it whereas he goes elsewhere—his spouse’s home—to get the products. He grabs the bag, takes it again to the dude, they make the trade, and go their separate methods.

The sale was a setup. The homeboy was an informant. Thompson was pulled over and arrested shortly thereafter. Police searched the home of Thompson’s spouse, the place they discovered their $4,200, additional cash, extra weed, a handgun, and a few vintage firearms.

The cops discovered no gun on Thompson when he was arrested. His spouse owned the handgun; police discovered it tucked beneath her facet of the mattress. Other firearms had been inside a locked closet and most could possibly be categorized as inoperable antiques.

As a convicted felon, although, Thompson was not legally allowed to personal a gun.

The cannabis-related prices of possession with intent to ship marijuana, conspiracy to own with intent to ship marijuana and supply of marijuana carried a most sentence of Four to 15 years. Thompson entered right into a plea cope with the state prosecutor for a four-year sentence.

Judge rejects a plea deal

That deal was seen as far too lenient for the district courtroom decide, although, a notoriously heavy-sentence jurist named Judith Fullerton. Judge Fullerton rejected the plea deal and compelled the case to go to trial—and never simply on the promoting cost. Prosecutors additionally went after him for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, too.

Thompson’s public defender permitted a 12-person jury that solely had one particular person of colour on it. None of the 12 had been from Flint. This was not a jury of his friends. The end result was his conviction.

After Thompson was discovered responsible, Judge Fullerton handed him an excessive and life-changing sentence: 40 to 60 years in jail.

He’s been there ever since.

Life passes him by in jail

Sadly, whereas in jail, Michael Thompson has needed to endure the demise of his mom, his father, and his son. He was solely capable of attend the funeral for his mom, whose one want was that her son not die in jail.

Michael Thompson is not eligible for parole till 2038. At that point he will probably be 95 years previous.

For three kilos of weed. In 1994.

There is some hope, nonetheless, and right here is how we may also help. Call Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s workplace and urge the governor to expedite Michael Thompson’s request for clemency. With your assist, we are able to get this man house.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office
(517) 373-3400

Bill Levers and Jeff Levers's Bio Image

Bill Levers and Jeff Levers

Bill and Jeff Levers are the brothers and co-founders behind Beard Bros Pharms, a California-based cannabis cultivation and media firm. You can learn extra of their writing at

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