Biden administration blocks marijuana law reform

February 23, 2022

Reform of federal marijuana laws has stalled despite President Biden’s campaign promise to decriminalize the drug and polls showing a majority of Americans support the idea.

The inaction angers supporters of looser marijuana laws because the idea has support from some Republicans and Democrats.

“If someone like me and a progressive like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can find common ground, it begs the question, why hasn’t the president taken action?” U.S. Representative Dave Joyce, a Republican from Ohio, said The Wall Street Journal. “The solutions are there. It’s just a matter of political will,” he said.

During his campaign in May 2019, Biden spoke out in favor of decriminalization, which would prevent people from being incarcerated for possession of marijuana under federal law and expunge previous criminal records for possession. Other candidates, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have supported full legalization under federal law.

Federal law states that a person convicted of possession of marijuana could be jailed for one year for the first offense and sentenced to two to three years for subsequent convictions, according to the National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform. A large majority of marijuana arrests, however, are made by local or state police with varying penalties.

Meanwhile, more and more states are embracing marijuana. Earlier this month, Mississippi became the 37th state to approve medical marijuana in some form. The National Conference of State Legislatures The webpage indicates that 18 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana for adults.

Audiences have warmed to the idea over the years. One November 2021 Gallup poll showed that 68% of respondents were in favor of drug legalization.

The Wall Street Journal said the deadlock in the Senate makes it unlikely that marijuana legislation will advance this year. Biden may be concerned that pushing for marijuana reform will make him appear soft on crime ahead of the midterm elections.

“I can definitely see the Biden administration looking at the rise in crime rates and thinking it would be a misdirection to start talking about cannabis decriminalization, pardons, and expunging records,” John Hudak, senior researcher at the Brookings Institution which studies marijuana. politics, says The newspaper.

Maritza Perez, director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which promotes changes to marijuana laws, said PolitiFact that Biden could reform laws without going through Congress.

Perez said the president could direct the Justice Department not to prioritize marijuana-related prosecutions or use its clemency power to release those serving time for federal marijuana-related offenses. He could also support the MORE Act, which would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminate criminal penalties for manufacturing, distributing or possessing marijuana.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any milestones or even indications of serious consideration of a step in the right direction when it comes to marijuana policy reform and the Biden administration,” Justin said. Strekal, political director of NORML, to PolitiFact.

The White House said The Wall Street Journal that the cannabis policy is under review but declined to comment further.

Read the original article here

Disclaimer! Verve Times is an automatic aggregator of all media in the world. In each content, the hyperlink to the main source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the content owner and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. Content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Comments are closed.