Photo courtesy of the Last Prisoner Project.

News | 07.23.2020

The Injustice Behind Michael Thompson’s Weed Imprisonment

Michael Thompson is serving 60 years in prison for selling weed in Michigan, a state where it's now legal. His case is one of the most unjust and inhuman in American prisons. And today, we join the many voices that want to get him free.

Back in 1994, Michael Thompson sold three pounds of weed to someone who turned out to be an undercover police informant in his hometown Flint, Michigan. He was arrested right after he made the deal, it was his third nonviolent drug-related offense. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and sentenced to 40 to 60 years in prison.

In 2018, 24 years after Michael’s conviction, the people of Michigan voted the Michigan Taxation and Regulation of Marijuana Act, which supported recreational cannabis legalization and established a regulated cannabis marketplace. In just the first three months after legalization, Michigan’s cannabis industry made $31.9 million.

Nowadays, legal cannabis is one of the most significant components of the state’s economy, earning $3 billion per year, creating 13,500 jobs, and generating about $495 million on yearly tax revenue.

Despite all this, Michael Thompson is still in jail for selling three pounds of it.

Born and raised in Flint, Michael was always a hard worker and a family man. He was a starting point guard for Flint’s Central High School basketball team. He graduated from high school and went on to serve his country in the U.S Navy, where he was discharged with honors. He then returned to Flint to work for GM. Michael was highly regarded for his community work in his city and is credited for his role in the ending of turf wars between local gangs. He was an honoree of the NAACP Youth Award and he even received the Keys to the City of Flint in one opportunity.

Photo courtesy of

Michael, aged 69 and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, has spent the last 25 years of his life in jail and faces 35 more. Practically a death sentence for selling weed. He is currently the longest-serving nonviolent offender in Michigan history. During his incarceration, Michael has gone through the death of his mother, his father, and his only son. With him only being able to attend his mother’s funeral, in handcuffs.

Michael wrote an essay titled “Can You Imagine” where he describes in detail the harsh living conditions in prison that have jeopardized his physical and mental health. His case is one of the most unjust imprisonments in the entire country, and it is time to put an end to it. 

Michael has been denied appeal three times, and two attempts of clemency have been infructuous. Despite being an exemplary prisoner who has had only one report of misconduct in 25 years. But this year, he is eligible for clemency once again. More than 150,000 actions have been made supporting his case. Organizations such as the Last Prisoner Project are helping the cause of people such as Michael and other thousands, seeking to release all those who are incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes in the U.S.

The time is now to help Michael. A life sentence for selling weed is unjust and inhuman. Plus, the current COVID-19 pandemic has Michigan’s penitentiary system in a sanitary crisis with more than 4,000 confirmed cases. Prisoners are at the mercy of the virus, especially high-risk inmates such as Michael. Let’s get him out and save his life.

Want to help? 

Contact Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Call her office: (517)-373-3400

Send her a letter here.

Call Michigan Parole Board: (517)-373-0270

Sign this petition.

Support the Last Prisoner Project.

Let’s free Michael NOW!!!

Photo courtesy of the Last Prisoner Project.

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