America’s Longest Serving Nonviolent Cannabis Prisoner to be Released

A man described as America’s longest serving inmate for nonviolent marijuana crimes will be sprung “early” from a Florida prison next month after serving 32 years behind bars, a nonprofit said. Richard DeLisi, 71, who was hit with a 90-year sentence in 1989 by a Polk County judge for marijuana trafficking, will be released in December from the Sunshine State’s South Bay Correctional Facility, the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit working for criminal justice reform related to cannabis crimes, announced this week. DeLisi’s release date comes after the Last Prisoner Project along with pro-bono attorneys supplemented DeLisi’s previously filed clemency application earlier this year and have continued to advocate on his behalf to local Florida officials and key stakeholders in the state, the organization said.

“It feels amazingly wonderful to know that I will be home with my family and loved ones very soon. I am grateful to everyone who has been there and helped me along in these long years,” DeLisi said in a statement to his legal team upon receiving the news. “If I could go back to 1988 I would tell my former self to put more value in the time I spend with my family. I have learned that money is something that comes and goes but family is forever,” he said.