Cannabis as an industry is thriving in the United States: It’s currently adult-use legal in 24 states, Washington D.C., and 3 U.S territories (with 41 jurisdictions overall legalizing medical cannabis), and decriminalized in 7 states. As of May 2023, there were 42,187 active cannabis licenses in the United States, a number growing as markets come online, and nearly $3 billion in retail cannabis taxes collected in 2022. Of the top five countries with the highest cannabis revenue in 2023, the United States ranks number 1.
Industry Stats Versus People Stats: How Many People Are Criminalized For Cannabis?
Yet on the other side of those industry stats are people stats. In 2020, police officers across the country made over 300,000 cannabis related arrests. In 2022, the number of arrests was still over 225,000. As of 2022, there are over 30,000 people imprisoned for cannabis related offenses in states across the country, and as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) states, these figures are likely underestimated because a significant percentage of law enforcement agencies fail to report their data to the FBI.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen administrations make positive moves granting clemency. In 2021, the Trump administration granted clemency to a dozen people imprisoned for cannabis related offenses. In 2022, the Biden administration pardoned over 6,500 people that had served time in federal prison for simple cannabis possession. But as we see above, there are almost the same number of people presently imprisoned for cannabis as there are licensed cannabis businesses in this country.
In an effort to let those 30,000-plus people know that they have not been forgotten, 40 Tons is daring people to care. 40 Tons is a social impact and lifestyle brand rooted in legacy and social restorative justice. They’ve launched the biggest letter writing campaign at a cannabis conference this nation has seen and are taking it to the world's largest industry showcase, MJBizCon.
What Is The 40 Tons "Dare To Know" Letter Writing Campaign At MJBizCon?
40 Tons will launch a one-of-a-kind letter writing campaign in Las Vegas starting Wednesday, November 28th at MJBizCon 2023. MJBizCon is the largest cannabis industry conference of the year and this letter-writing campaign aims to be the largest cannabis awareness and prison letter writing campaign ever conducted at a cannabis conference.
The goal is to have have 10,000 postcards written and then sent directly to prisoners currently incarcerated for cannabis crimes. 40 Tons recognizes that receiving mail is one of the few things that bring solace, peace, and hope to the tens of thousands of prisoners currently incarcerated in the United States for cannabis-related crimes.
Through this letter writing campaign, 40 Tons aims to reassure prisoners that they are not forgotten, and that campaigns for their freedom are a priority for the cannabis industry.
40 Tons Co-Founder and COO, Anthony Alegrete, M.A.O.L., says: “This letter writing campaign is important because while we are at the largest cannabis conference making deals happen, creating generational wealth off the plant, it is others serving long prison sentences for the same thing. Mail is like gold. When an inmate receives mail it can totally change their energy. In a violent environment the simple act of receiving mail can create peace even if for a short period of time."
How To Find 40 Tons At MJBizCon
While many booths will be massive in size and display, the 40 Tons booth will be extremely recognizable and hard to miss. The intent, the message, and the why will be immediately seen, heard, and felt.
40 Tons’ Co-Founder and CEO Loriel Alegrete says: “Our MJBizCon booth is created to replicate a jail cell itself as part of our unrelenting commitment to calling attention to the hypocrisy of the cannabis industry making billions of dollars while there are still so many people in jail for this plant.”
Community makes so much possible and the same is true for this campaign and booth. 40 Tons partnered with cannabis industry companies to build the campaign and booth for this Dare to Know challenge aimed at letting the public know that there are still people in jail/prison for cannabis.
Who Are 40 Tons' Cannabis Industry Partners For The "Dare To Know" Campaign?
- Custom Cones USA: “We wanted to partner with 40 Tons, because DaySavers is a smoking accessories brand that is all about transparency and charity. Coming up with a charity initiative from cannabis criminal justice reform has been top of mind for the past year and when we connected with 40 Tons all the pieces finally came together! We are excited to be announcing these DaySavers x 40 Tons Edition charity cones, which will come up early 2024”. - Harrison Bard, Co-Founder
- Vert Pack: “The mere existence of a brand like 40 Tons is enough to inspire. When I first met Anthony Alegrete back in May, I immediately was struck by his authenticity. His story, his dedication - the way he and his partners started 40 Tons and every step they've made since are what inspired me to get behind the letter writing campaign. I am proud to have Vert partner up with 40 Tons on this powerful initiative and I invite anyone seeking to make an impact to join us”. - Dustin Steerman, Founder
- Eco Mastermind: “As someone who has operated in both the legacy and regulated markets, I make a living doing the very things that many people still sit in prison for. Because I've been so fortunate, and the 40 Tons movement resonates with me, I feel it's important to support whenever possible.” - William McKenzie, Founder
What Else Should You Know About 40 Tons And MJBizCon?
Imprisoned people need to know that they haven’t been forgotten, especially in cannabis, for they are the legacy. Sending letters is showing care.
Corvain Cooper, Co-Founder and Lead Brand Ambassador of 40 Tons, says: "Getting mail while I had the life sentence helped me a lot. It let me know that people didn't forget about me. In the prison I came from, most people were abandoned and many had life sentences like me. So, I'll always appreciate those who wrote to me."
This campaign is the first of its kind at any cannabis conference and it makes sense to launch it at the year's largest. I had the opportunity to get insight from MJBiz Director of Content Marketing Kelly Riddle about the letter writing campaign. She states: “When we connected with 40 Tons and witnessed their intense, personally driven passion to raise awareness and support for prisoners still serving time, while others profit from the plant, 'Dare to Know' was conceived. Our leadership approved the partnership with 40 Tons to bring this important initiative to the tens of thousands of MJBizCon attendees who together can make a resounding impact to spark change and heal our communities impacted by the War on Drugs."
Those attending MJBIZCON can find 40 Tons at booth #33030. 40 Tons created an easy process, eliminating the need for sheets of paper and envelopes. The artwork on the postcards are innovative and unique showcasing hand drawn art of the cannabis prisoner receiving the postcard.
I dare everyone, especially business owners in cannabis to stop by and send a postcard because of all the people that matter over profits, it's the ones put away for the same thing that many of us are doing freely.
For more about 40 Tons, visit 40tons.co. MJBizCon 2023 takes place November 28-December 1, 2023 in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. To learn more, visit mjbizconference.com. Use Honeysuckle's code 23HONEY10 to save an additional 10% off on your tickets.
Special Thanks To Cannabis Industry Content Sponsor Higher Maintenance LLC
Higher Maintenance LLC: Offering organic plant based and plant infused products manufactured in a certified organic facility. The company is based in Indiana and born from a personal healing journey with plants and herbs. Higher Maintenance LLC believes in transparency and they guarantee their premium plant and herbal products.
Veronica Castillo is the Traveling Cannabis Writer from Miami, with a pre-cannabis and psychedelics background in insurance and human resources. Currently, she is a resident of the road covering cannabis, psychedelics, and plant-based lifestyles all over the U.S and soon abroad. Follow her journey on IG at @vee_travelingvegcannawriter and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vee-traveling-veg-canna-writer/
Find Out More On Social
Featured image: 40 Tons co-founders Anthony Alegrete (left), Corvain Cooper (center), and Loriel Alegrete (right) (C) Kaitlin Culucundis-Parry @shootpeople_