This should be popular in Arkansas. Follow the thread.
As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.
Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach. Allow me to lay them out.
— President Biden (@POTUS) October 6, 2022
To begin he said:
First: I’m pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. There are thousands of people who were previously convicted of simple possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My pardon will remove this burden.
Then he urges states to act. We can guess where Governor Asa ‘Reefer Madness’ Hutchinson stands on this one:
Second: I’m calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.
Then a needed law change:
Third: We classify marijuana at the same level as heroin – and more serious than fentanyl. It makes no sense. I’m asking @SecBecerra and the Attorney General to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.
There still will be MJ crimes, he said.
I’d also like to note that as federal and state regulations change, we still need important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales of marijuana.
But he recognizes the obvious, including Arkansas where “medical” marijuana is legal.
Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives – for conduct that is legal in many states. That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.
Early this summer, the Washington Post reported that in 2017 only 92 people were sentenced for marijuana possession in the federal system. I don’t have immediate state figures, but officials have always insisted the number serving time for a marijuana conviction is small. Of course a pardon isn’t only about potentially freeing someone from jail. It’s about removing an obstacle to employment, voting and other things from a record.
UPDATE FROM THE GOVERNOR:
Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following response to statements by the Biden administration on Marijuana Reform in the United States:
“The President, in his announced policy on marijuana, has waived the flag of surrender in the fight to save lives from drug abuse and has adopted all the talking points of the drug legalizers. The Department of Justice should not issue blanket pardons but each case should be looked at individually. As Governor I have issued hundreds of pardons to those who have been convicted of drug offenses. But in this time of rising crime, there should be a clear record of law-abiding conduct before pardons are issued.
In terms of rescheduling marijuana, the president is ignoring the science that is behind the different categories of drugs. While his proposal sounds good, this is a step that has not been taken by the Obama Administration or the Trump Administration. Biden is simply playing election-year politics and sacrificing our national interest to win votes.“
And like clockwork:
Reaction to Biden’s marijuana announcement from @SenTomCotton: “In the midst of a crime wave and on the brink of a recession, Joe Biden is giving blanket pardons to drug offenders—many of whom pled down from more serious charges.” (1/2)
— David Weigel (@daveweigel) October 6, 2022