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Las Vegas cannabis dispensary helps free people in prison for non-violent drug crimes

Posted at 5:46 AM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 09:25:51-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Buried Alive Project has dozens of videos in their archives of people walking out of prison for the first time in more than a decade and hugging their friends and families as a free person outside of the concrete and barbed wire.

It's the moment co-founder Brittany K. Barnett said makes all of the pro-bono legal work her team puts in to help out worth it.

Every person she has helped was convicted of a non-violent drug crime and sentenced to spend the rest of their life behind bars.

"The most grave impact of this utter failure of a war on drugs to me is the impact on people," Barnett said. "Human lives. Real people. This isn't a joke."

Barnett has helped free more than 50 people who had spent more than a decade in prison for acts that now legal marijuana companies are making millions of dollars doing.

RELATED: Marijuana lounges green-lit by Nevada Legislature

Barnett said the disparity in justice was best summed up by one of her clients.

"People are selling marijuana today and getting a life savings," he quoted. "I sold marijuana and got a life sentence."

That's exactly why the Jardin Las Vegas Cannabis Dispensary decided to help them out.

"Essentially the same transaction that we are doing today, they were doing," said Marketing Director Semii Gebreyonas, "However, their life, it cost them their life."

The store took all of the proceeds they made on Juneteenth, around $11,000, and sent it to the Buried Alive Project.

"Those who are in position, and those who are in powers of leadership, it's our responsibility," Gebreyonas said.

Barnett said the cash won't change draconian pot laws still on the books across the country, but it could help right decades-old wrongs because free legal aid isn't cheap.

"And know, that there is nothing more urgent than freedom," she said.

Barnett said anyone else who would like to help their mission can visit the Buried Alive Project Website.