TOM KUKUCHI

TOM KUKUCHI
Board Member, Treasurer

Why are you part of Freedom Grow? In the first decade of this new millennium, I was incarcerated for four and a half years. My crime was “maintaining a place for the manufacturing of marijuana”. This experience gave me a deeper understanding than most of the inner workings of the federal justice system. Indictment, court proceedings, prison life, halfway houses, and probation all present their own nuances and problems. Once I could put all these difficulties behind me, I felt compelled to do something for those who were less fortunate than I. When I was dealing with the courts, I learned that a life sentence could be a consequence for even marijuana offenses, and I was shocked. Even more shocking was discovering that dozens of regular, normal people had been condemned to this dark fate. Drawing from my own experiences, I knew that these people needed help in the worst way.

More about your activism – After I was released from prison, I decided I should donate whatever time, money, and effort that I could spare to help make their prison time easier. It started with donating reading material. Used books were collected and sent to marijuana prisoners until the Federal Bureau of Prisons stopped allowing this. It was then that Freedom Grow Forever came into being. The prison can ban used books, but it sure wasn’t going to ban money, so sending postal money orders to select prisoners became the focal point. From the beginning, our efforts have been 100% voluntary. Freedom Grow Forever extracts no administrative fees and no one involved is paid. Every penny of every donation has always directly helped the prisoners and it will always be this way until the last man is released.

More about Tom – I am a baby boomer who was born and bred in Los Angeles, California. Like most Southern Californians, I loved baseball, fast cars, and surfing. I was a Dodger fan before they even thought about moving to LA. I drive an antique 420 horsepower Mustang. And although I don’t surf anymore, some of my friends still do and I have followed surfing’s evolution since the 1960s. I attended a Catholic grammar school and a Jesuit high school. By the time I went to U.C.L.A., the Vietnam War was raging and I got my first taste of activism. Pot dealing paid my tuition and this continued after graduation. By the 1980s, I moved to Hawaii to pursue a career in cultivation.

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