Senators call on President Biden to pardon all nonviolent cannabis perpetrators
U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley sent a letter to President Joe Biden last week calling on him to use his executive power to issue a blanket pardon for all nonviolent federal cannabis offenders, whether current or former incarcerated.
In the speech, the senators, all Democrats, called America’s war on drugs a “failed and racist.”
The senators wrote that “American cannabis policies have punished black and brown communities for far too long,” adding that despite legalization in states across the country, as well as nearly equal rates of cannabis use, “black Americans are still four times more likely to be arrested. Charged with possessing cannabis because they are white Americans.”
The senators also noted that 27 states, and Washington, D.C., have decriminalized cannabis possession, while 36 states have legalized cannabis for medical use and 18 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized adult cannabis use.
The senators also noted that a majority of Americans, nearly 7 in 10, support cannabis legalization.
“We need to decriminalize,” Biden said while campaigning
Marijuana and everyone [with a marijuana record] They should be allowed out of prison, their records crossed out, and they should be written off completely.”
“Our country’s cannabis policies need to be completely reformed, but you have the power to act now: You can and should issue a blanket pardon for all nonviolent federal cannabis crime, fulfill your promises to the American people and change the lives of dozens of people. By the thousands. [of] Americans,” the letter states.
“The Constitution gives you the power to pardon broad categories of Americans to correct widespread injustice, as previous presidents have done,” the letter added. More importantly, such an amnesty — along with your leadership in an accessible write-off process to formally clear the criminal records of those affected — would mark the beginning of a reversal of decades of ineffective and discriminatory cannabis policies, allowing Americans to return to their communities and find housing. and jobs and rebuild their lives without the burdens of an unjust criminal record.”
Earlier this year, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, also a Democrat, introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would legalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing it to be taxed and regulated. The proposed legislation would also immediately expunge the criminal records of people who commit low-level marijuana offenses.
Last year, the US House of Representatives voted in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Deregulation Act, which would also decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. This was the first time Congress had adopted cannabis reform legislation.
It appears that cannabis reform will be a win-win issue for voters. Even Republicans are studying their own cannabis legalization.
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