A few months after President Joseph Biden assumed office, his administration passed a major infrastructure bill that, among other things, provided billions of dollars for the development of a nationwide network of public electric vehicle chargers, fulfilling a promise he had made while on the campaign trail. However, the administration has been slow to pass the cannabis reforms President Biden had promised while campaigning, with Biden failing to make a definitive public statement about marijuana policy in the year and a half since he entered the Oval Office.
After more than a year of silence on cannabis reforms, the president has now revealed that his administration is “working on” plans to meet his pledge to pardon and free people who are currently in prison due to cannabis-related offenses. It is the first time he has made a public statement about his administration’s plans to enact cannabis reform since he became the president.
While speaking to journalists on the White House lawn after he stepped off Marine One, Biden said that he didn’t think anyone should be incarcerated for using cannabis. Although he didn’t provide any specifics, the president said that his administration was currently working on a crime bill; press staff from the White House did not respond to further queries for clarification.
Despite dozens of states legalizing cannabis and generating billions of dollars in tax revenue, around 40,000 Americans are currently in prison for marijuana offenses.
According to Richard Bronson, founder and CEO of 70 Million, a staffing agency that serves people with criminal records, people with criminal records “go through hell” to find employment. He said that many of these individuals are men and women of color who, despite serving their time, are still penalized once they enter society. Furthermore, he said the fact that thousands of Americans are still imprisoned for activities that are now legal is an irony of gruesome proportions.
Since he took office, Biden has received several requests from advocates and lawmakers to exercise his executive powers and issue mass pardons for people who were convicted for nonviolent, cannabis-related offenses. His administration has received nearly a dozen letters from advocates, lawmakers and others who have been personally impacted by cannabis prohibition to pardon people who are still imprisoned for cannabis offenses,
The only action Biden has taken has been to grant clemency to dozens of people with nonviolent marijuana convictions on their records in April. Although his actions were lauded, they are still a far cry from the mass pardons advocates and lawmakers have been seeking.
To the cannabis industry and its leading actors, such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS), concrete actions to implement the ending of prohibition or its facets carries more meaning than the current rhetoric to the effect that the matter is being considered.
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