WASHINGTON, D.C. – Politico is reporting, based on an analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US, that the Trump administration approved millions of dollars in federal aid for the cannabis industry in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Meanwhile, reports are mounting of nonviolent marijuana offenders tragically dying behind bars due to the outbreak despite the administration’s promise to transfer vulnerable, nonviolent inmates to home confinement. Accountable.US is calling on the Trump administration to save lives by making its marijuana policies consistent.

As the pandemic rages on and puts incarcerated people’s health at heightened risk, the Trump administration must treat nonviolent marijuana offenders facing COVID-19 with the same sense of urgency it has treated federal aid for publicly-traded pot companies. The administration can prevent further harm and tragedy by getting its policies straight and fulfilling its commitment to protect these people’s lives.”

Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US

DANGEROUS DOUBLE STANDARD: Despite the administration’s claims, only 1.8 percent of federal inmates have been moved to home confinement in the name of reducing the spread of the disease, including former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. But while the Trump administration continues to treat marijuana offenders the same as violent criminals in the federal prison system, an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings to date shows the Trump SBA has approved nearly $8 million for at least 11 small businesses related to the marijuana industry under its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).


  • 40,000 U.S. Inmates Serving Time For Cannabis Charges Face Heightened Risk As Coronavirus Spreads Through Prisons, Killing 415 And Infecting At Least 29,000 Out Of The Millions Currently In Confinement.
  • Some Of The First U.S. Inmates To Die Of COVID-19 Were Serving Time For Non-Violent Drug Charges.
  • The First U.S. Prisoner To Die Of COVID-19, Was Serving A 27-Year Sentence For Non-Violent Drug Charges.
  • The First Female Federal Prisoner To Die Of COVID-19, Was Serving A Two-Year Sentence For A Nonviolent Drug Offense.
  • An Older Man Who Died In Prison From COVID-19 Nearly Finished An Almost Two-Decade Prison Sentence For Cannabis Charges—He Was Called “‘A Poster Child’” For Home Confinement During The Pandemic.
  • A Man Serving A Life Sentence In Louisiana For Selling $20 Worth Of Cannabis In 2008—Winslow Is Now “Scared For His Life” As His Prison Disregards Health Precautions During The Pandemic.
  • A Senior Citizen Suffering From “A Long List Of Ailments” Remains In His Prison’s Pandemic Lockdown After Serving Time For Cannabis Charges Since 1996.


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