Although Marijuana Lifer Project founder and executive director Cheri Sicard had been working with prisoners serving life sentences for several years, she had just made it the official to start the organization when she was asked to participate in a panel on “Ending the Drug War” at 2015’s annual Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, California. In fact this was the first time the Marijuana Lifer Project was announced in public.
Cheri spoke about prisoners serving life sentences for marijuana and the conspiracy laws that brought them there. Sharing the panel was recently released marijuana lifer Jeff Mizanskey, a Missouri state case. While Cheri had been focusing her efforts on federal prisoners serving life for marijuana, she nonetheless had written a number of letters on behalf of Jeff’s clemency and she had corresponded with him a couple of times, as well as with his son Chris, and niece Ashley. Needless to say, to meet a marijuana lifer like Jeff Mizanskey on the outside, was a thrill for an activist like Cheri.
The Emerald Cup has always been a favorite event of Cheri’s (she even talks about it in her book Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women), so Cheri was especially excited to be asked to speak there about a subject so near and dear to her heart. The Emerald Cup also set up a local radio interview with Cheri. The host was shocked, as most people are, to learn there are actually people serving LIFE SENTENCES for marijuana.
Cheri and MLP treasurer Mitch Mandell had a wonderful time at the Emerald Cup, but more importantly they were able to connect and network with a lot of diverse people, even within the cannabis community, who did not know about the marijuana lifers.
The Marijuana Lifer Project gives sincere thanks to the crew at the Emerald Cup, and especially Susan Soares and Tim Blake, for the opportunity to represent.