At the CAN-DO Foundation, we like to help the public get to know the prisoners we advocate for on a personal level, so this month we’d like to introduce you to a remarkable man, Michael Pelletier. A wheelchair bound paraplegic since the age of 11, Michael sits in federal prison serving a sentence of life without parole for a nonviolent, victimless marijuana conspiracy offense. Despite these hardships, he is one of the most upbeat and optimistic people we have met. He has a terrific sense of humor that endears him to all.
Incarcerated Since: 2006
Release date: When he dies
Prior offense: Mostly Pot priors
Date of Birth: 1/31/56
Family: No children. Elderly father & siblings.
Heath Issues: Michael has been a paraplegic since he lost the use of his legs in a farming accident at age 11. He has had no physical therapy since being incarcerated and has four blood clots in his left leg.
About Michael Pelletier’s Case:
Michael Pelletier grew up one of 10 French-speaking siblings on his father’s potato farm in St. David, a rural village in Madawaska, Maine, near the Canadian border. One day in the fields when Michael was 11, he hitched a ride on the back of the tractor, but when the tractor turned, Michael fell. Not realizing that his brother had fallen off, his brother at the wheel drove over him, crushing him beneath the wheels. When Michael was about 14 years old, he began to use marijuana, seeking relief from muscle spasms and bladder ailments. The marijuana helped to relieve his physical problems and to cope with depression. Indeed, Michael self-medicated and the result was far better than any pharmaceuticals that had been prescribed for a myriad of complications related to some of his vital organs. His initial interest in marijuana was purely from a medicinal standpoint because it provided the best relief from the pain, spasms and depression caused from the accident.
Our POWs are more than the sum total of allegations against them, made by the government at trial. We asked Michael Pelletier a series of questions to help readers know him better. Here are his answers.
What meal or food do you crave most that you will want to eat when you get out?
I miss my grill BIG TIME so t-bone steak, baby back ribs, and of course, as I am from Maine, Maine lobster!
What are your favorite books or who are your favorite authors?
Julia Cameron, Rhonda Byrne, Meera Lester.
Prefer winter or summer?
Nocturnal or morning person?
Coffee or tea?
Football, baseball, soccer, boxing, Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Exit Wounds with Steven Seagall and Blood Sport with Jean-Claude Van Damme,
Favorite TV show(s)?
American Idol, Everybody Loves Raymond.
What is your favorite color?
If you could walk out tomorrow and go anywhere – where would it be and why?
To Madawaska, Maine to see my 89 year old father before he passes away!
If you could travel to any country – where would it be and why?
To the Netherlands because it is a country that has common sense about cannabis!
What do you most want people to understand about being incarcerated that you don’t think they understand?
When a paraplegic or someone confined to a wheelchair is incarcerated, we are confined to our cells. We can’t work in the kitchen, on the outside crew, in maintenance, etc. We can’t play basketball, baseball, handball, or any sport. Our time is twice as hard! Having a life sentence is a feeling of dying every day. It’s worse than death that happens one time. It’s a living death.
Write to Michael Pelletier – Life for Pot
Michael loves to get cards and letters. Write to him here:
Michael Pelletier #11109-036
FCI Terre Haute
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808