President Joseph Biden’s historic announcement to pardon all federal marijuana possession convictions and direct government officials to study deregulation of drugs sent shockwaves across the country on Thursday, prompting activists, Cannabis industry officials, experts and policy makers weighed in on the issue. Biden announced the move on Thursday, taking the first step in his promise to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
“As I often said during my presidential campaign, marijuana use or possession alone should not put people in jail. And it’s taking too many lives and imprisoning people.” Biden said in a statement on thursday. “Marijuana possession convictions also impose unnecessary barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Races are being arrested, prosecuted and convicted at disproportionate rates.”
The presidential pardon will affect about 6,500 people convicted of marijuana possession under federal law, and thousands more in the District of Columbia. according to a report from new york timesBiden also asked governors to take similar action at the state level. At the state level, the majority of cannabis possession charges have been filed and prosecuted.
The President also asked the Departments of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to consider continuing to classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. According to law, the Schedule 1 classification is for drugs that have no medical value and a high propensity for abuse.
Amnesty elicits a quick response
Biden’s announcement sparked excitement and activity both within and outside the cannabis community, sending marijuana-related stocks soaring and fueling predictions about how the move might affect next month’s midterm elections.Pennsylvania Deputy Governor John Fetterman, a fellow Democrat and U.S. Senate candidate, urged Biden to decriminalize cannabis when they met in Pittsburgh over Labor Day weekend. He reiterated his stance after news of Biden’s pardon broke on Thursday.
“People’s lives should not be disrupted by petty, non-violent crimes related to marijuana. I have visited the entire county,” Fetterman said in a statement. “I’ve heard countless stories from people in Pennsylvania about what this simple, simple step to decriminalizing marijuana means to them. Lives are being derailed by the criminalization of this plant.”
Experts ponder pot amnesty
A political analysis of the pardon released by the White House on Thursday suggested that the decision could affect next month’s midterm elections, although there was disagreement over which side would benefit. Some have suggested that Biden’s announcement bolsters Republicans’ claims that Democrats are crime-friendly, while the move will encourage Democrats and progressive voters to get on board in November. Some believe that it does.
Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is running for governor of Texas to make Texas’ executive branch blue, said, “If I become governor, I will finally legalize marijuana in Texas and get arrested.” We will expunge people’s records,” he said in a statement. Possession of marijuana. ”
His opponent, incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, also took the president’s announced amnesty as a political issue and rejected Biden’s calls for governors to take similar action at the state level.
“Texas is out of the habit of taking criminal justice advice from underfunded police chiefs and overseeing a criminal justice system run amok with cashless bail and revolving doors for violent criminals. I have not received any advice from anyone who has Statement quoted by CNN.
Amnesty Praised by Cannabis Community
Mary Pryor, co-founder of Cannaclusive, a media services company founded to promote fair representation of minority cannabis consumers through imagery and education, sees the Biden pardon as “a huge step forward” and says it will help victims urged further progress on comprehensive criminal justice reform to help By nearly a century of cannabis prohibition.
Pryor, who is also on the board of parent company Social Equity Fund, said: “Now is the time to get serious about restorative damage repair and make cannabis and careers in all fields accessible to all who receive amnesty.” said. , said in a statement. “And while this milestone is certainly a big win, we need to educate society about the deeper harms of the war on drugs when it comes to resources and restorative justice.”
Nancy Whiteman, CEO of cannabis food maker Wanna Brands, praised the president’s pardon.
“It is unbelievable news to hear that President Biden is seeking a pardon for prisoners held after being convicted of simple federal marijuana possession charges,” Whiteman said in an email. is an important step towards full decriminalization and a meaningful way to address racial disparities regarding the arrest and conviction of BIPOC people.”
Investors saw Biden’s plan to pardon cannabis possession convictions and reschedule marijuana as an opportunity, sending shares of legal cannabis companies soaring in Thursday’s trading. According to a Reuters reportTwo of the largest publicly traded cannabis companies posted strong earnings, with Tilray shares up 22% and Canopy Growth shares up 31%. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, which holds stakes in several cannabis companies, rose nearly 20%.
Not enough or too much?
As might be expected, positive reactions to Biden’s move to pardon and reschedule cannabis have not been universal. However, some conservative voices are skeptical of reform. “President Biden’s statement on marijuana reform is a long-awaited step in the right direction,” said Andy Singh, CEO and founder of e-cigarette manufacturer Nuvata.
“But when he was running for president, we received these same assurances. I’m here. high times“It’s been two years since he became president. This is the first item he should address because people are suffering unnecessarily in prison every day simply for possessing botanical drugs.” was one of
Dr. Carl Hart, professor of psychology at Columbia University and author of the book adult drug usesaid on social media that the president’s actions hadn’t gone far enough, suggesting political motives were at work.
“While we are pleased that approximately 7,000 people have been cleared of MJ possession charges, we are disappointed that @JoeBiden has not taken steps to ensure that no one is arrested for drug possession. I think it’s a weak move against legalize all drugs.” heart tweeted on thursday.
Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and “hard on crime” conservative, condemned the White House’s actions.
“Amidst a wave of crime and the brink of a recession, Joe Biden is granting a full pardon to drug offenders, many of whom are stepping back from more serious crimes.” Cotton wrote on Twitter“This is a desperate attempt to distract from failed leadership.”
At the grassroots level, many voters are likely to support a federal marijuana conviction pardon for Biden. Gallup poll It found that 68% of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.