President Biden is Working On His Pledge to Free Marijuana Prisoners

After stepping off Marine One to go back into the White House on Saturday, July 16, President Biden made a big public statement in regards to cannabis reform. 

I don't think anyone should be in prison for the use of marijuana. We're working on a crime bill now.

 Although this is a hopeful message, it is unknown what “bill” he is referring to and what legislation he plans on changing. For things to get moving, the administration must take action as soon as possible. 

Let’s Start From the Beginning

When Biden was running for president; he made it seem like reform would be just over the horizon if elected. While knee-deep on the campaign trail in October of 2020, President Biden made a video highlighting how he planned to decriminalize marijuana. In the video, he said, “As president, I’ll work to reform the criminal justice system, improve community policing, decriminalize marijuana and automatically expunge prior marijuana convictions.” This ad, and other campaign speeches brought hope to a large marginalized community of Americans who suffer daily due to current cannabis laws.  

Now it’s Been Over Year, and Nothing Big Has Changed

Since taking office, President Biden has received many pleas from a litany of advocates, politicians, community leaders, celebrities, and athletes to use his executive power to pardon non-violent cannabis convictions. Yet the President has only pardoned 75 people who were serving long sentences for drug offenses. 

In September 2021, a letter was sent to Biden and signed by high-profile stars including Drake, Killer Mike, Meek Mill, Deion Sanders, and Kevin Garnett.  It stated that the war on drugs “has crushed many souls and countless futures, while spreading intolerable levels of mistrust and dysfunction between minority communities and those sworn to protect them.”

The letter then went on to say,

"The harms of incarceration are obvious, but the pains of federal marijuana convictions transcend prison walls, making it more difficult for someone to get a job, access affordable housing, and receive an education. A conviction can forever limit an individual’s constitutional rights and can put the American dream further out of reach for an entire family.”

Many senators, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have also asked the president to use his executive authority. In a joint letter, they stated that the current administration’s stance is “harming thousands of Americans, slowing research, and depriving Americans of their ability to use marijuana for medical or other purposes.”

Now, with all this pressure, it seems that the president is finally taking matters into his own hands and hopefully planning on making good on his promises. 

Let’s Go Joe

With the president’s approval rating at an all-time low and inflation at an all-time high; it only makes sense for Biden to start making good on his promises. He has the power to start the process of legalizing marijuana on a federal level and can offer mass pardons to those unfairly incarcerated. 

We believe that any politician should stick to their guns and offer the support their constituents need. When there are over 40,000 Americans incarcerated for marijuana offenses, yet 91% of Americans can now get legalized cannabis in some form — action needs to be taken. Hopefully, we will act more as the land of the free, not the land of hypocrisy.

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Brendan Irving

NYC living, food-loving, music-making, and party attending writer working in the ad business for the last eight years. Actor to ad man, Brendan got his start writing comedy and sketches and performed all over NYC and the tri-state area. He is now committed to writing powerful pieces that will put a smile on any face.

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