George Martorano - Life for Pot

George was sentenced to a LWOP Life without the possibility of parole sentence for marijuana - he has been released.

Released On: 10/05/2015

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Who is George Martorano? | Owner of Hip Hemp Cafe

George Martorano is the longest-serving first-time non-violent offender in the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the time of his release. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1988 on drugs charges. Martorano was released in October 2015 after serving over 32 years.

George Martorano was born in 1950 and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before his conviction in 1983, the Federal authorities had suspected and accused George of being at the head of an organized crime business which had been seeing an annual revenue upwards of $75 million. What happened next is what ultimately sent George to his darkest years of his life; he was caught with a truckload of marijuana by the FBI, who had then charged him with 19 counts of drug-related offenses.

In 1984, following the advice of his attorney, George plead guilty to multiple drug charges including drug possession and distribution. While under the impression that if he had taken the plea deal a life sentence would have been off the table, George agreed. On September 20, 1984, expecting to receive the 40-54 months the prosecution had initially recommended, Martorano was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the longest prison term to ever be imposed on a first time non-violent offender in (American) history. To this day, many people believe that George's sentence was unusually harsh for not only a first-time offender, but a “first-time non-violent” offender.

While in federal prison, George was inhumanely held in an underground solitary confinement area for five years as punishment for not providing the FBI with crucial information on the Philadelphia mob scene that they had suspected he and his father had been involved with. Clinging on to any shred of hope, almost 2,000 days later, George was freed from his solitary hell and began his journey to become a distinguished and “model” prisoner.

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