Eric Rachmany: rebel with a cause. Sam Medina
There are abundant examples of celebrities trying to profit off legal cannabis while the less famous sit behind bars, but some of the OGs of cannabis culture are putting their money where their mouths are. Eric Rachmany, guitarist and singer for Rebelution, is using his national solo tour as a way to raise awareness and money for those imprisoned for cannabis charges.
Proceeds from Rachmany’s concert at Summit Music Hall on Friday, November 29, will benefit the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit that helps cannabis offenders apply for clemency, clear their records and re-enter society — sometimes as members of the pot industry. We caught up with Rachmany to learn more about the cause, his connection to cannabis and some of his own close calls while touring.
Westword: As a cannabis user, what made expungement and re-entry so important to you?
Eric Rachmany: I didn’t know anything about the Last Prisoner Project until my manager told me he was a boardmember, and I immediately knew it was something I wanted to get involved in. My band, Rebelution, has always been a big cannabis advocate, and has always pushed for legalization.
But the main reason I wanted to get involved is because it feels weird for me to make money off our own cannabis line of products knowing there are people still locked away, some for life sentences, who were doing the exact same thing as us: trying to make a dollar off cannabis. That doesn’t feel right, knowing all those people are locked away. This is my second annual acoustic tour, and both years have gone 100 percent toward charities — but this year is solely for the Last Prisoner Project. Knowing I’m making money off cannabis, like so many others in this industry, while others are locked up for it — that just doesn’t sit right.
One great way to make a statement is to take this message on the road and show people what this cause is. I just want to raise awareness, and I think anybody who uses cannabis would want to be involved in an organization like this. For people to be locked up for something as minor as cannabis, it’s mind-blowing. It’s crazy how a sentence for cannabis can be longer than an offense for something violent. A lot of these people are just trying to make a dollar to survive.
Published: November 27, 2019