4Front Ventures, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable prison populations, will shift some of its manufacturing capabilities at its Washington production facility to begin producing liquid disinfectant – or hand sanitizer. In partnership with the Last Prisoner Project, starting on April 20, the organizations will donate a portion of the subsequent hand sanitizer bottles to select prison populations in need of supplies.
The Last Prisoner Project is a nonprofit coalition of cannabis industry leaders, executives, and artists dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis industry. Founded by long time cannabis activists, Steven and Andrew DeAngelo as well as artist manager and entrepreneur Dean Raise, the Last Prisoner Project mission aligns with the values of 4Front, which was also founded by advocates working to ensure fair access to cannabis and positive community engagement through meaningful jobs and education.
The Last Prisoner Project is in touch with state Departments of Corrections to determine how to best deliver the disinfectant liquid to those prisons in the most need, on a state by state basis.
“The incarcerated population is extremely vulnerable and at a unique risk to this pandemic, as it is nearly impossible to adhere to the recommended social distancing guidelines amid overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions,” said Leo Gontmakher, CEO of 4Front. “We don’t believe any human being should serve a prison sentence for a cannabis offense, much less face incarceration during a global pandemic like COVID-19. Working with the Last Prisoner Project will allow us to reach a community that is often overlooked or forgotten in situations like this and really makes a difference. On a day like April 20, where cannabis consumers around the world celebrate their love of this healing plant, it is especially important that we help ensure that a cannabis conviction never becomes a death sentence.”
4Front Ventures will also supply hand sanitizer to all of its Mission retail locations and Brightleaf production facilities, for use in keeping all staff and customers/patients safe. The Company will also be identifying medical professionals and first responders in Seattle, Chicago, and Boston, three areas where 4Front has a strong community presence, that are facing supply shortages due to the virus.
“Our constituents, many of whom are over the age of 60 and have underlying health conditions, are imprisoned because of a plant that has now been deemed an ‘essential’ service by jurisdictions across the country during this time of crisis. Our justice system’s response to this pandemic is effectively sentencing nonviolent cannabis offenders to death. Releasing cannabis prisoners now is not only the right thing to do from a justice perspective, but also from a public health perspective,” said Sarah Gersten, Executive Director of Last Prisoner Project. “While we continue to push the justice system to right its wrongs, we are working diligently to do everything we can to make sure our constituents are receiving the essential sanitary tools they need to protect themselves. At its roots, the cannabis community is an activist community, and it’s entirely keeping with the culture to step up and help those where we can. We are humbled by the response of the cannabis community in general, and especially Leo and the team at 4Front.”