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America’s Longest Serving Cannabis Prisoner to be Released After 31 Years



LAKELAND — The man described as the longest-serving inmate for marijuana crimes in the country will be out of a South Florida prison before Christmas.

Richard DeLisi, sentenced to 90 years by a Polk County judge after his conviction in 1989, will be released in December, 18 months ahead of his scheduled departure, The Last Prisoner Project announced Monday in a news release. The nonprofit, which advocates for inmates serving long sentences based on nonviolent, marijuana-related offenses, has been seeking DeLisi’s early liberation.

DeLisi, the subject of a recent article in The Ledger, is being held at South Bay Correctional Facility in Palm Beach County. Advocates say DeLisi, 71, is at high risk of death if he contracts COVID-19 because of various health problems.

This will be the first Christmas since 1988 that DeLisi doesn’t spend behind bars.

(Gary White)

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