A Cannabis Advocate's Opinion On Biden's Cannabis Pardon
You would have to be hiding under a rock not to have heard about Joe Biden's pardoning of those convicted of marijuana possession under federal law. While this is a step in the right direction towards undoing the damage caused by outdated and negative propaganda and policies, the gesture does not fulfill its intended purpose.
According to The New York Times, "The pardons will clear everyone convicted on federal charges of simple possession since it became a crime in the 1970s. Officials said full data was not available but noted that about 6,500 people were convicted of simple possession between 1992 and 2021, not counting legal permanent residents."
Additionally, the pardons would not extend to those convicted of the distribution or selling of marijuana. Nor does the pardon extend to those convicted on a state level, where the vast majority of convictions stem from.
This pardon comes right before the midterm elections in a half-ass attempt to fulfill a campaign promise. It almost comes across as an afterthought to try and recruit votes.
Less than 15 years ago, Biden stated his belief that marijuana was a gateway drug and that legalization was a mistake. And while people do change their minds, one would think that he would have signed this pardon before now.
And let's not forget Kamala Harris' history with cannabis convictions. According to Forbes, "As a prosecutor, Harris oversaw more than 1,900 cannabis related convictions in San Francisco, which was higher than her predecessor."
Based on their history, our president and vice president have not looked favorably on cannabis legalization. Their silence on legalization until now raises a red flag that should not be overlooked.
The fight against cannabis prohibition is necessary and wrongs should be righted, but those fighting for legalization should not be fooled by minimum effort gestures. History should not be overlooked in favor of promises made by career politicians during elections.