Lawmakers And Advocates Urge Biden To Grant Marijuana Clemency In Presidents Day Push

MJ moment

Two lawmakers and a coalition of marijuana advocates on Monday called on President Joe Biden to grant mass clemency to people with federal cannabis convictions. It’s an ask inspired by actions taken by Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in the 1970s to categorically forgive Americans who avoided the draft for the Vietnam War. Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) announced that they will be sending a formal letter to the Biden administration with their request soon. “At the end of last year, the House of Representatives passed legislation, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act, to ensure that these programs work as intended and that the revenue generated can be reinvested into the communities most harmed under criminalization,” the lawmakers said in a press release. “Until the day that Congress sends President Biden a marijuana reform bill to sign, he has the unique ability to lead on criminal justice reform and provide immediate relief to thousands of Americans.” At the same time, reform advocates from multiple organizations sent Biden a letter with a similar intent, using Presidents Day to call for mass marijuana pardons. The advocacy letter from pro-legalization groups and industry associations urges Biden “to clearly demonstrate your commitment to criminal justice reform by immediately issuing a general pardon to all former federal, non-violent cannabis offenders.” “In addition, all those who are federally incarcerated on non-violent, cannabis-only offenses for activity now legal under state laws should be pardoned and their related sentences commuted,” it says. “Cannabis prohibition ruins lives, wastes resources, and is opposed by a large majority of Americans.” The advocates stressed that a marijuana conviction can hamper the ability of people to obtain housing, jobs and educational opportunities. They also cited comments Biden made during the Democratic primary in 2019, when he said that records for…

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