byVuk Zdinjak, Benzinga Staff Writer
April 17, 2023 9:56 AM | 2 min read
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Ben & Jerry's, a subsidiary of Unilever plc
launched a campaign for 4/20, regarding what the company calls a “half-baked marijuana legalization” focusing on Michigan where cannabis use is legalized but many are still serving time or have long-standing records for cannabis-related convictions.
The Vermont ice cream maker is calling for clemency, which governors can bestow to either reduce a sentence or free an incarcerated person. Last year, governors in states like Oregon and Pennsylvania granted marijuana pardons and commutations, but there remains great opportunity for cannabis clemency in many states.
For example, in 2021, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that streamlined removal of cannabis and other misdemeanors from public record but excludes felony convictions for sentences of 10 or more years. The 'Clean Slate' Bill allowed Whitmer to grant clemency to Michael Thompson, who served 25 years for cannabis conviction – the longest sentence for a nonviolent drug charge in the history of the state.
"We thank Governor Whitmer for having the courage to address the injustice in Michael Thompson's case," stated Chris Miller, head of global activism strategies at Ben & Jerry's.
"However, Michael is just one victim, and many in Michigan are still paying a price for the racist war on drugs and the criminalization of cannabis, which is why we are calling on Governor Whitmer to provide justice for all those still incarcerated for cannabis crimes."
The company is asking their fans and citizens alike to contact governor Whitmer to urge her to grant clemency to the thousands of incarcerated and right the wrongs of injustice.
The company's campaign has placed billboards adjacent to the Michigan state house in Lansing and mobile billboards across Ann Arbor and Lansing and is part of a larger national campaign calling for clemency in every state.
Michigan is one of a number of states where this story is unfolding and fans nationwide have the opportunity to use their voice and Ben & Jerry's is making it easy to take action with an autofill letter template here.