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Feature photo: ‘Tiny Weed’ by Diane Fornbacher/Ladybud Magazine
It’s time again for the Parents 4 Pot Holiday Drive which benefits the families of prisoners incarcerated for cannabis. In addition, the annual drive also benefits the families of cannabis activists who are also patients and activists in need. This is the fourth year that P4P has been making sure that the children of these wonderful people get winter holiday presents to soften the blow of absent parents or patients who are unable to work to give their children the kind of holiday cheer they’d otherwise love to provide.
2017 has been a groundbreaking year with regard to changing cannabis laws but many people still suffer without their loved ones even in this new era. As of September, there were an estimated 643,121 people arrested for cannabis law violations, of which 574,641(89 percent) are for simple possession, according to Drug Policy Alliance. Untold thousands of children have either been removed from their families because of these “offenses” or are placed with other members of their families. The Drug War has done grievous damage to the fabric of families in the United States by virtually kidnapping parents for cannabis and breaking apart families.
Prisons are also gouging prisoners and their families with unreasonable phone charges and low to non-existent wages. According to Prison Policy Initiative, “The average of the minimum daily wages paid to incarcerated workers for non-industry prison jobs is now 86 cents, down from 93 cents reported in 2001. The average maximum daily wage for the same prison jobs has declined more significantly, from $4.73 in 2001 to $3.45 today. With a few rare exceptions, regular prison jobs are still unpaid in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.”
Prison Policy Initiative also reports that, “The wages listed do not include any deductions, which in reality often leave incarcerated workers with less than half of their gross pay. In Massachusetts, for example, at least half of each paycheck goes into a savings account to pay for expenses after release. “Any and all funds” can be used to pay court-assessed fines, court costs, victim witness assessments, etc. New Mexico deducts 15-50% of each paycheck for a Crime Victims Reparations Fund, discharge money, and family support. These deductions also mean that $1 per day earned to make day-to-day life behind bars more bearable is really 50 cents (or even less).”
Of the charges each state deducts, there are also necessity costs of the prisoners for basic items like feminine hygiene products which, “In Colorado, it costs an incarcerated woman two weeks’ wages to buy a box of tampons; maybe more if there’s a shortage. Saving up for a $10 phone card would take almost two weeks for an incarcerated person working in a Pennsylvania prison.” All of these costs make it hard for incarcerated parents to give their kids a good holiday as well as buy items that would make their unjust imprisonment workable.
In reflection of the manifold burdens placed upon our citizens, Parents 4 Pot was founded by Mickey Martin (who sadly passed away in June) and close friend Deanna Jean Ryther in November 2013 and is “dedicated voice for all families who support the end of hemp and cannabis prohibition. We strive to defeat the social stigma surrounding adults who use cannabis responsibly. We support a parent’s choice to use medical cannabis to treat their children’s illnesses. Our work helps families with cannabis related issues through education, direct action and organizational support.” Ladybud Magazine and Parents 4 Pot encourages readers to support Parents 4 Pot Holiday Drive the following ways:
Pick a gift or several gifts off the Amazon Wish Lists by clicking on the link in each family’s story.
Make a donation via PayPal via Parents4Pot@gmail.com
Send checks or money orders to:
Parents 4 Pot, 12042 SE Sunnyside Rd. #222, Clackamas, Oregon 97015
Use Amazon Smile to purchase these gifts or any other gifts, a portion of sales will be donated to Parents 4 Pot when you choose the organization as your favorite Non-Profit Organization.
Purchase ‘Likes Weed, Good Person’ pendants (comes with or without chain), and other Parents4Pot jewelry from Silverkind, a store on Etsy created by dedicated activist Vanessa Waltz (Amber Trichomes) including cuff bracelets and key chains stamped on sterling silver. With every purchase, a large portion of sales goes directly to P4P. To date, Silverkind has donated $2500 to worthy causes like P4P.
Contact P4P directly if you have questions or would like to sponsor a family at: Parents4Pot@gmail.com.
Special thanks to P4P Treasurer Anna Diaz for all of her hard work this year and to Cheri Sicard who has helped network between Parents 4 Pot, the POWs and their families.