Tag: Joe Biden

Fivethirtyeight: Americans Want to Legalize Cannabis, Why Won’t Uncle Sam Listen?

Poll after poll, electoral victory after electoral victory, and cultural advancement after advancement, it’s clear that a supermajority of Americans want to end cannabis prohibition. It’s been maddening for many longtime drug policy reformers that elected officials across the nation and in Washington, DC, haven’t followed the will of the voters. Public opinion has gotten to such a high watermark that mainstream political observers have taken notice, including Fivethirtyeight.com which takes on why the federal government won’t legalize marijuana when voters from across the political spectrum want to:

“For starters, not all Senate Democrats back Schumer’s plan, and Senate Republicans have yet to show any support for legalization. Additionally, while legalizing marijuana is popular, it isn’t a top priority for many voters. That may be, in part, due to the success of legalization efforts at the state level. More than one in three Americans live in states where marijuana is already legal for recreational use, and a sizable majority live in states where marijuana is legal for medical use. For those who already have access to the drug, it may not matter whether it’s their state government or the federal government making that allowance. Finally, as my colleague Perry Bacon Jr. pointed out earlier this year, electoral politics are increasingly disconnected from policy, meaning that despite the popularity of marijuana legalization, there may simply not be a ton of electoral benefit for Biden for taking up the issue.

“Still, if the polling is any indication, legalizing marijuana is hugely popular, and Biden may yet change his mind, depending on how the politics of the bill play out. And if he does, he may even get some brownie points from Republican voters who support legalization. But if things start to get politically messy, Biden may not have a lot to lose by passing on championing this particular issue.”

With nonpartisan popular support, the US House passing legalization and the SAFE Banking Act, and the Senate Majority Leader supporting legalization, we are on the precipice of ending federal prohibition. However, the corporate interests and prison-industrial complex that have benefited from Reefer Madness policies, won’t give up power easily. We’re gonna have to fight even harder to secure the votes in the Senate and a presidential signature. With the truth and the people on our side, freedom and equality for the cannabis community is within reach. Let’s keep it up.

Merrick Garland Plans to Leave Legal Cannabis States Alone as Attorney General

The cannabis community didn’t have much information on Merrick Garland’s positions on legal cannabis states when President Joe Biden nominated the one-time Supreme Court nominee to be the next Attorney General of the United States. Thanks to questioning from New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who represents the most recent state to end cannabis prohibition, we know that a Garland-led Justice Department will leave regulated businesses alone, so long as they are complying with their state’s laws. (On a side note, I was overjoyed to see that the official New Jersey government Twitter account celebrate legalization yesterday.)

Marijuana Moment covered Garland’s nomination questioning regarding cannabis:

“It does not seem to me useful the use of limited resources that we have to be pursuing prosecutions in states that have legalized and are regulating the use of marijuana, either medically or otherwise,” he said when asked by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I don’t think that’s a useful use.”

“I do think we need to be sure that there are no end runs around the state laws that criminal enterprises are doing. That kind of enforcement should be continued,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s a good use of our resources where states have already authorized, and it only confuses people obviously within the state.”

That view is consistent with policies put into place under Obama—known as the Cole memorandum—and then rescinded by President Donald Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

While Joe Biden certainly wasn’t the first choice of most drug policy reformers, the priorities of his AG nominee do follow an evolution in the thinking of Biden, who deservedly has a reputation for perpetuating harmful Drug War policies as a senator. It was great to hear that Garland, a current federal judge and former prosecutor, understands the need to let states implement their own cannabis policies while also addressing the systemic racism built into the War on Drugs. While it is great news that Merrick Garland will adhere to a states’ rights cannabis policy, it is imperative that new US Attorneys follow Garland’s lead on cannabis, and other drugs as Oregon won’t be the only state to move forward with drug decriminalization and medicinal psilocybin therapy laws. The times they are a-changin’ and even our nation’s top law enforcement officers are evolving.

Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer Helps Lead Effort to Expunge Federal Cannabis Convictions

President Joe Biden’s legislative history as a Drug War supporter caused consternation for those supporting cannabis legalization and other drug policy reforms, but he softened his stance as a candidate, pledging to support decriminalization and the expungement of cannabis offenses from folks’ criminal records. While stopping short of ending federal prohibition, Biden’s cannabis policies would be a step in the right direction. Stepping up like he always does when it comes to cannabis policy reform, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, along with Congressional Cannabis Caucus Co-chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, is leading an effort to urge President Biden to expunge harmful cannabis convictions from people’s records.

From the press release of Representatives Blumenauer and Lee, announcing how they led 35 lawmakers in urging President Joe Biden to use executive clemency to pardon individuals convicted of federal cannabis crimes:

“Until the day that Congress sends you a marijuana reform bill to sign, you have a unique ability to lead on criminal justice reform and provide immediate relief to thousands of Americans,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to the president. “We urge you to grant executive clemency for all non-violent cannabis offenders.”

The lawmakers stressed that discriminatory cannabis policies have perpetuated systemic racism in America for decades, citing a 2020 report issued by the ACLU that found that Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite comparable usage rates.

“During your previous tenure at the White House, President Obama understood that decades of harsh and discriminatory federal drug laws unfairly trapped minority individuals and communities in cycles of despair. That is why he used the tools of justice to grant clemency for 1,927 individuals convicted of federal crimes,” the lawmakers continued. “Your Administration has the power to expand on end this legacy and issue a general pardon to all former federal, non-violent cannabis offenders in the U.S and trigger resentencing for all those who remain federally incarcerated on non-violent, cannabis-only offenses for activity now legal under state laws.”

In their letter to President Biden Thursday, the lawmakers also noted that their request is not a partisan issue. Every president since George H.W. Bush has exercised their pardoning power for cannabis offenses.

This push from lawmakers comes after Americans in five more states voted overwhelmingly to liberalize their cannabis policies during the November elections and the U.S. House of Representatives took the historic step of passing the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act in December.

“President Biden’s leadership on issuing pardons to nonviolent federal marijuana offenders would demonstrate a down payment on his campaign promise to prioritize criminal justice reform and similarly inspire similar justice-oriented actions in a non-partisan fashion around the country,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Shortly after President Biden’s election, the House of Representatives voted to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. Now in a new legislative session, President Biden should follow their lead and move to immediately provide relief to those who continue to suffer from a criminal record for a nonviolent federal marijuana offense. We are tremendously grateful for the leadership of the Cannabis Caucus, particularly Representatives Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, as they tirelessly lead this ongoing but hopefully soon to be finished fight for marijuana justice nationwide.” 

In addition to Blumenauer and Lee, the letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Adriano Espaillat, Bonnie Watson Coleman, James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Jesús “Chuy” García, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rashida Tlaib, Danny K. Davis, Alan Lowenthal, Alcee Hastings, David Trone, Mark Pocan, Carolyn Maloney, Peter Welch, Dwight Evans, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Jared Huffman, Pramila Jayapal, Ed Perlmutter, Mondaire Jones, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna, J. Luis Correa, Brenda Lawrence, Charlie Crist, Dean Phillips, Jamaal Bowman, Steven Horsford, Henry “Hank” Johnson, Jake Auchincloss, Raúl Grijalva, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Whether President Biden fulfills his campaign promises on cannabis policy remain to be seen, but it’s great to know that there are public servants like Representatives Blumenauer and Lee that are working to hold him accountable, regardless of partisanship or politics. Ending cannabis prohibition has become a mainstream issue with 2/3 support of all Americans. It’s time that the federal government do the right thing and erase these harmful convictions that have denied too many people employment, housing, and educational opportunities.  

Stock Up on Kind Leaf’s Cannabis Deals to Survive the Election Season

The last presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is tonight and if you decide to watch, it probably won’t hurt to utilize some of the world’s best cannabis to help you get through it. If you plan on skipping the debate like me, there is still a good chance that you’ll want to stock up on cannabis to help you get through the rest of the election season.

Hopefully, reforming federal cannabis law will be addressed at this presidential debate, just as it was at the vice-presidential debate. Of course, you can’t count on politicians to always follow through on their promises, but it’s still good to hear that a presidential ticket is planning on decriminalizing cannabis and expunging past criminal offenses.

To help you get through November 3rd, there is no better place to stock up on all of your cannabis needs than Kind Leaf in beautiful Pendleton, Oregon. Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique has the very best selection of cannabis strains in the state, if not the Northwest, if not the world, and is worth a road trip.

In addition to the always-amazing selection, Kind Leaf continually maintains great deals and discounts. Check out this week’s deals:

FLOWER 15% OFF – Cherry Pie, Blackberry Octane, Sunset Sherbert, Dosi

FLOWER 30% OFF – Blue City Diesel

EDIBLES 15% OFF – Mr. Moxey’s Mints

EDIBLES 30% OFF – Titan’s Kind Chews, Blaze Single DC Blood Orange

VAPE 30% OFF – Highland Provisions Live and Cured Resin

VAPE 15% OFF – Elysium Cartridge Blood Diamond

EXTRACT 30% OFF – Happy Cabbage Rosin

EXTRACT 15% OFF – Happy Hippy Bubble Hash

PREROLLS 15% – Yerba Buena Prerolls

PREROLLS 30% – Tree Frog Preroll Harley Tsu

Kind Leaf’s discounts include 15% off for all Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) patients; 10% for seniors; 5% for veterans; and 5% just for utilizing the curb-side pick-up window. Order online via Leafly and save yourself some time. With just under two weeks to go until election day, do yourself a favor and make a trek to one of the best cannabis boutiques anywhere.

Bernie Sanders- Joe Biden Task Force Members Advocate For Cannabis Legalization

As Joe Biden campaigns against president Donald Trump, a task force comprised of members of his and Bernie Sanders’ supporters are meeting to discuss various issues. Biden, hoping to avoid a similar fate as 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has taken the step of forming the task force to try and bridget he divide between progressive and moderate wings of the party.

As Marijuana Moment has covered, the criminal justice task force has been debating cannabis legalization. Progressives hope that the former vice president will get with the times, a supermajority of the party, and a strong majority of American voters, and move from merely supporting decriminalization to supporting legalization:

Most of the group—which consists of advisors appointed by both Biden and former primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—support ending cannabis prohibition, and advocates have held out hope that they would recommend that Biden adopt the policy platform in the run-up to the November election.

While some members have publicly talked about the issue since joining the task force, including Linn County, Iowa Supervisor Stacey Walker, who recently commented on the need for reform in light of racial disparities in marijuana criminalization, a new report from Politico appears to be the first confirmation that the group itself is actively considering a formal recommendation on the policy change.

From Politico’s report:

Multiple people said marijuana policy has been discussed on the criminal justice panel, one of the policy groups of the unity task force. Sanders appointees have advocated for legalization. Some Biden appointees personally support legalizing pot and have debated putting the policy in the panel’s recommendations to the former vice president, according to two people familiar with its deliberations.

Biden supports decriminalization, but has resisted calls to make cannabis legal—a reform endorsed by the majority of his primary opponents, including vice presidential contenders Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. The criminalization of marijuana has contributed to the country’s mass incarceration problem, disproportionately affecting black men.

Chiraag Bains, a co-chair of the criminal justice task force tapped by Sanders, said Biden should “end the War on Drugs, including by legalizing marijuana.” He said those are his personal views, however, and he was not speaking as a leader of the task force.

It will be interesting to see what direction Joe Biden plans to take, especially if his pick to be his running mate supports legalization, like frontrunner Kamala Harris. With a big lead in the polls, the Democrat may want to play it safe, but he’ll be playing it wrong if he thinks opposing legalization is safe.

Biden will run the risk of getting outflanked by Donald Trump on the issue, who not only wants to win for himself, but may want to throw a lifeline to Republican Colorado Senator Cory Gardner who could use a win on cannabis. Only time will tell, but both presidential candidates would be wise to adhere to the will of the voters and call for an end to the failed and racist policy of cannabis prohibition.