Case Study
February 23, 2021

Leveling The Scales of Justice

Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform and social equity, pushing for justice for those incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses that are no longer illegal.

Through intervention, advocacy and awareness, LPP works to redress the past and present harm of unjust laws with the goal of not resting until the last individual incarcerated for non-violent cannabis-related offenses is set free. This objective becomes even more important as more and more U.S. states embrace the cannabis industry by legalizing recreational adult-use marijuana.

As restrictions are eased and this burgeoning industry takes shape, LPP is focused on rectifying the fundamental injustice inflicted upon those who have suffered criminal convictions and the consequences of those convictions.

To put the situation in perspective, roughly 15.7 million people have been arrested for marijuana offenses in the last decade and $47 billion is spent annually on the War on Drugs. Meanwhile, legal marijuana sales totaled $10.4 billion in 2018. 

Despite the clear shift in legislation and widespread adoption of recreational cannabis in an increasing number of states, there are still approximately 40,000 prisoners incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses.

LPP operates three programs to achieve this goal: the Cannabis Clemency Program, a pro bono effort to secure release and a clean slate for those incarcerated; Compassionate Release Program, which pursues the release of non-violent offenders that are vulnerable to the dangers of incarceration and pose no risk to the public in the event of a release; and the Record Relief Program, which fights for record relief through the pardon process and advocates for the expungement of cannabis records in any state that legalizes cannabis.

In partnership with LPP, 20 Goodwin lawyers are engaged to help nine individuals in seeking justice for their incarceration under outdated cannabis-related laws.

In January 2021, LPP secured the compassionate release of Andy Cox, a former firefighter, small business owner and father of three who had been serving a life sentence in federal prison for a non-violent cannabis offense.

In September 2020, LPP secured the compassionate release of Philong Chong following five years served in prison for a non-violent cannabis-related infraction.

Visit or text FREEDOM to 24365 to donate and learn more.

Last Prisoner Project at a Glance

  • Nonprofit organization
  • Founded in 2019
  • Headquartered in Denver, Colorado
  • Goodwin client since 2020