Can the President free incarcerated cannabis inmates with his executive powers? Yes! But can we believe President Biden when he says he’s working on it already? We don’t know the answer to this.
The Biden administration has announced several times that they’re taking steps to pass cannabis reforms; however, they’ve yet to enact or implement any. So, this could be one of the President’s techniques to make it seem as though he’s effecting changes. Or who knows, he might probably be doing it this time.
Some days ago, United States of America President Joe Biden told reporters in Washington that marijuana use is not enough reason for anyone to be locked up in American prisons. He stressed that no American residents should be behind bars because of cannabis use. He mentioned that his team is working on a bill to fulfill one of his campaign promises to free inmates locked up based on marijuana-use charges.
Another Presidential Promise to Pass Cannabis Reforms
Following a four-day visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia, Biden made the remarks to a group of media gathered on the White House grounds as he returned to Washington, D.C.
A journalist inquired if the president meant to keep his campaign plan to release all the cannabis offenders in prison. According to a White House pool report, Biden had responded by saying, “I don’t think somebody should be in jail for using marijuana. The President had also stated further that his administration is already working on the Crime Bill.
Since his administration commenced last year, Biden’s quick reply was his most in-depth and direct remarks on marijuana legalization. The President has mostly shied away from questions relating to cannabis. However, this statement is also something Biden had repeatedly declared, most memorably while running for president in 2020. Biden has consistently advocated against marijuana-related incarceration, even though he hasn’t fully embraced outright cannabis legalization.
In a notable discussion with The Breakfast Club in the spring of 2020, Biden outlined his position on full legalization vs. decriminalization, arguing that it makes no logical sense for individuals to go to prison for pot use.
“Because they’re trying to determine whether or not marijuana use has many effects, not in terms of getting you to use other drugs, but in terms of what it induces. Whether it has an impact on the brain’s long-term development, and we should hold off until the research is finished,” Biden added that scientific evidence should determine how this goes.
Plea For Pardon
Last November, three Democratic senators wrote a letter to Vice President Biden pleading with him to pardon everyone convicted of nonviolent cannabis charges, whether they are in or were previously incarcerated.
Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and Jeff Merkley wrote in the letter that although our nation’s marijuana laws need to be completely revised, the president has the authority to take immediate action. President Biden can and should pardon all non-violent federal cannabis felonies, keeping his pledge to the American people and improving the lives of millions of citizens, they wrote.
His recent comment, though appreciated, as well as his refusal to outright support cannabis decriminalization, has frustrated so many cannabis reform advocates. This has made most of these individuals (democrats and republicans) focus more on enacting state-level changes.
The senators pointed out the president’s campaign statement where it was noted that the government should decriminalize marijuana, and everyone with a marijuana conviction should be released from prison, have their records erased, and have their criminal histories wholly erased.
A general pardon is the first and easiest stage in the procedure. As past leaders have done, the Constitution gives Biden the power to pardon large groups of Americans when there has been a serious injustice.
Biden shortened the sentences of 75 people incarcerated for minor drug offenses in May and granted three full pardons.
Democrats in Congress strongly favor legalizing marijuana, but this backing has not yet resulted in changes to current legislation.
Other Efforts To Pass Cannabis Reforms
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would exempt marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, was endorsed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in April.
However, the legislation has since stagnated in the Senate, where Democratic leaders have declared their intention to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana.
Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, promised that congress would introduce pot legalization before the August Congressional recess and that it would also exempt cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act in April.
However, there are increasing signs that the Senate’s draft law may be much more limited than Schumer had anticipated.
Despite frequently stating his advocacy for abolishing federal prohibition, Politico reported earlier that Schumer lacks the numbers to enact a comprehensive marijuana decriminalization bill. As a result, Senate Democrats are looking for a marijuana common ground.
In addition to the trio’s letter, Biden has gotten roughly a dozen letters urging him to take action against those still detained by the federal government for marijuana use from congress members, activists, entertainers, and those affected by prohibition.
According to these concerned advocates, the president’s present position hurts thousands of Americans, stifles scientific studies, and denies Americans the right to use medicinal cannabis.
The recently appointed U.S. pardon attorney recently spoke on the possibility of widespread cannabis amnesty. She told Marijuana Moment that while her agency processes cases independently, the president might give it the authority to grant broader commutations or pardons.
Biden’s latest remarks suggest that the pressure campaign might be ready to produce results, even though the timing and exact nature of those results are yet unknown.
Taking executive action to provide mass clemency for all inmates locked up for minor cannabis charges in the United States would not only endear the president to the hearts of millions. Still, it would also improve his chances of retaining power in the next general elections. As it stands, the president’s approval ratings are pretty low; implementing bipartisan legislation would earn him praise.