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Michigan inmate seeking release from 'life sentence' for marijuana sale

Michigan Dept. of Corrections

Tuesday, the Michigan parole board will consider freeing a Flint native who’s serving essentially a life sentence for selling marijuana.

Michael Thompson was convicted in 1994 for selling three pounds of marijuana to an undercover informant.

The case has attracted national attention, in part because recreational marijuana is now legal in Michigan.

“It’s just really shocking to compare Michael’s life sentence for a non-violent cannabis offense to what is now going on in Michigan’s recreational cannabis market,” says Sarah Gersten, with theLast Prisoner Project.

Thompson’s commutation bid has the support of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the prosecutor’s office that convicted him. 

Thompson has had serious health problems inprison, including testing positive for COVID-19.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.