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Cannabis company joins push to free Michael Thompson from prison

The county prosecutor, celebrities, people from across the country and now a statewide cannabis company are pushing to have Michael Thompson released early from prison.
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/7/2020) - Calls to release a Flint Native from prison are growing louder.

Three months ago, Genesee County's top law enforcement officer joined the national push for clemency for Michael Thompson.

The now-69-year-old has served 24 of his minimum 40 years behind bars for drugs and weapons charges.

Now, a Michigan cannabis company is calling for his early release. But, there's still no word from the parole board.

Thompson received his minimum 40-year prison sentence inside Genesee County's Circuit Court 24 years ago.

The Prosecutor said Thompson’s sentence is actually more than what a person convicted of second degree murder would be handed today.

“It’s just not fair that, you know, we’re doing this as a job and there’s people who are in prison for it,” Stefanie Michels, Marketing Director for Michigan Supply and Provisions, said.

Michigan Supply and Provisions is a medical and recreational cannabis company. They recently joined the "Free Michael Thompson" movement.

Partnering with the Last Prisoner Project, they're collecting donations from customers to help get clemency for the Flint native and others in his situation.

“We also feel that they have already paid their debt to society and it’s about time that they get out,” Kalyn Silk, General Manager of MS&P’s Detroit location, added.

The now-69-year-old was sentenced in 1996 for 5 felonies -- weapons and drug charges.

“He’s the longest incarcerated non-violent offender in Michigan history that I can find,” Thompson’s criminal defense attorney Kimberly Corral said. “He’s had only one infraction in his entire incarceration, which was for not leaving the music room quickly enough.”

Corral explained the Flint native sold 3 to 4 pounds of marijuana to an informant. He was actually given a plea deal, but the judge struck it down, which sent his case to trial.

“The charges are excessive, they were piled on, you know,” she said. “One of the charges is that he used the gun in the commission - a gun in the commission of the crime. That’s just simply not true.”

Tens of thousands of people have written the Governor and parole board calling for his early release, adding with severe diabetes, Thompson's at risk for contracting COVID-19.

Corral picked up Michael Thompson's case last year. By January, she filed an application for clemency. Corral said the parole board accepted it in February, the Genesee County Prosecutor pushed for action in April. And, still nothing.

“In preparation for this meeting I called again,” Corral said. “I spoke again to the representation from the parole board and their response is the same thing I’ve heard for five straight months -- we’re thinking about meeting on this soon.”

Corral added the Governor cannot act until she receives something from the parole board. Whatever recommendation they make, she can go against their decision.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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