White House touts Biden marijuana pardons among administration’s ‘key accomplishments’

The president’s mass marijuana pardons and directive on revised schedules are again touted by the White House as the “key accomplishments” of the Biden-Harris administration.

As the end of President Joe Biden’s second year in office approaches, the White House has launched a webpage on “The Biden-Harris Record” that lists 17 major administration accomplishments, including “ending our failed approach to marijuana”.

“To help address the failure of our nation’s approach to marijuana, including racial disparities, the President pardoned all previous federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana and urged governors to do the same. “, he indicates.

By the White House.

“The administration is also beginning the process of reviewing how marijuana is regulated under federal law. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug, the same classification as heroin and LSD and even higher than fentanyl and methamphetamine,” he said. keep on going.

Early in the administration, the president and vice president remained largely silent on cannabis policy issues after taking office, despite campaigning on a series of modest marijuana reforms like decriminalization and the rescheduling. But since Biden granted pardons last monththe administration has seized on the popularity of the action, particularly in the run-up to last week’s midterm elections.

Its inclusion in the list of “key achievements” is notable in the context of the other 16 achievements. For example, marijuana relief is listed right after accomplishments on issues such as student debt relief and reproduction and right before administration efforts to provide support to Ukraine amid Russian military aggression.

It should also be noted that action against cannabis was given its own separate category and was not grouped with another major achievement: “Advancing equity and racial justice, including historic justice reform criminal”.

Although the problems are linked – and the White House has link them recently in a statement on the steps that have been taken to uplift black Americans – the administration obviously wanted to put a particularly bright spotlight on the achievement of cannabis in the new list, as well as in related posts on Twitter.

Several surveys have shown that Biden’s marijuana leniency widely supported by the public, but advocates and some lawmakers have made it clear they want to see the administration go further.

For example, nine congressional lawmakers sent a letter to Biden on Monday, imploring him to extend its pardons to immigrants who have citizenship status issues. It is also urged to “prioritize” decriminalization or deprogramming.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) formerly called for an extension of the president’s pardons, emphasizing the importance of having a Democratic Party that proactively defends Latin American communities, including the immigrant population. Part of that means adopting inclusive policies, she said, which was a missing element of the president’s mass cannabis pardon.

Earlier this month, more than 130 immigration and civil rights organizations sent a letter to Biden, also imploring him to extend his pardon proclamation for possession of marijuana. anyone, regardless of immigration status.

Biden’s mass pardon impacted about 6,500 people who have committed marijuana possession offenses at the federal level, as well as those who violated the law in Washington, D.C., but activists have argued that relief should also extend to people like immigrants and those with commercial beliefs.

Activists with Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Last Prisoner Project (LPP) and DCMJ staged protests outside the White House last month to draw attention to this issue, demanding that Biden release the roughly 2,800 people currently being held in federal prison on marijuana convictions that are not limited to simple possession.

While Biden has has repeatedly touted his cannabis leniency actionsaying at one point that he has “changed the lives of thousands of people”, he strongly indicated that he is unwilling to provide further assistance for those with commercial convictions.

Meanwhile, the White House drug czar recently applauded Biden’s “historic” decision to grant a mass pardon for marijuana and to order an administrative review of the status of the drug formulary. And he again points out that there are “clear” medical benefits of cannabis – which he says should not be ignored due to separate concerns about youth use.

The Department of Justice and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have committed to promptly carrying out the separate review of the schedule the president has ordered, which could result in a recommendation to place cannabis on a lower schedule or phase it out altogether, thereby legalizing the plant under federal law.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said officials will “work as quickly as possible” to complete the analysis Cannabis Programming as directed by the President.

The Justice Department, for its part, “will expeditiously administer the President’s Proclamation, which pardons those who engage in simple possession of marijuana, restoring the political, civil, and other rights of those convicted of this offense,” said said a department spokesperson.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said officials will work diligently to ensure people who have been pardoned for federal marijuana offenses under the presidential proclamation are not prevented from accessing future employment opportunities.

Vice President Kamala Harris said last month that voters should elect lawmakers who support marijuana reform so Congress can take a “one-size-fits-all approach” to the issue. in light of presidential cannabis pardons.

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