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Michael Thompson, the longest-serving non-violent offender in Michigan history, walked out of prison in January 2021 after 26 years, three rejected appeals and two denials for clemency.
His family, led by his daughter Rashawnda Littles, had almost given up hope for his release, despite a groundswell of support from activists, celebrities and the public.
Thompson’s journey—from his arrest for selling cannabis to a close friend-turned-confidential-informant to his 40-60-year sentence and eventual pardon from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer—is captured in a documentary premiering at the SXSW Film Festival this weekend.
When it debuts on Sunday, The Sentence of Michael Thompson will become the first social justice film financed by a cannabis brand to be included in the influential festival.