Recently President Joseph Biden gave a speech on his administration’s actions to relieve student debt. At the end of his speech, the president talked about his clemency proclamation on marijuana, noting that he recognized the issue’s popularity, especially among young voters.
President Biden stated that he was keeping his promise that no individual should be jailed for possessing cannabis, emphasizing this pardon only applied for possession and adding that these records needed to be expunged. The clemency action, which only impacted resident/legal alien offenders and U.S. citizens who had committed federal marijuana possession offenses, has been criticized by advocates who argue that Biden should have expanded his proclamation to include individuals who sold cannabis.
The president has been discussing his marijuana relief decision this last month, stating at one point that he had changed the lives of thousands of individuals. Recently, he has also indicated that he is not willing to extend the relief to those with convictions related to the sale of cannabis. Activists with the Last Prisoner Project, Sensible Drug Policy and DCMJ have been protesting outside the White House to highlight this issue and request that the president release the thousands currently incarcerated in federal prisons for cannabis convictions that aren’t limited to simple possession.
In a recent interview with Pod Save America, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that while the president’s proclamation needed to be applauded, the action was limited because it did not include noncitizens who made up a large portion of federal possession cases. Meanwhile, the Office of National Drug Control Policy praised the president’s move to issue a mass pardon and order that an administrative review of marijuana’s scheduling status be conducted. This comes after the president called attention to the fact that medical benefits of marijuana did exist, noting that they shouldn’t be ignored due to unrelated concerns about its use by the youth.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice have announced that they are both committed to conducting the review as directed, with Health Secretary Xavier Becerra stating that officials would work quickly to conclude the analysis, as per the president’s directive. The review could cause marijuana to be placed in a lower schedule or be removed from the scheduling list completely, which would legalize the plant under federal law.
The Justice Department also issued a statement, noting that it would administer Biden’s proclamation swiftly and help restore civil, political and other rights to individuals convicted for the simple possession of cannabis.
As these systemic wrongs are corrected, the ultimate shift would be to end prohibition once and for all so that entities such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) don’t have to walk a tight rope between federal and state marijuana policies.
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