Biden changes the way the US treats marijuana and forgives past federal crimes
President Joe Biden initiated a review of the drug’s classification and pardoned thousands of people with federal convictions for simple marijuana possession on Thursday, October 6, in an effort to revamp U.S. marijuana policy.
Biden stated that thousands of individuals with prior federal convictions may be denied work, housing, or educational chances, and that his unilateral order will alleviate such consequences.
Nearly 40 states in the United Areas have legalized marijuana use in some manner, although it is still federally and in some states wholly illegal. Reclassification would be the first step toward broader legalization, a move supported by the majority of Americans, and it would usher in vast changes for businesses and law enforcement that would affect millions of people.
The president’s move fulfills a campaign pledge and is certain to please his left-leaning political base in front of the midterm elections in November, in which his fellow Democrats are defending control of the House and Senate.
“Too many lives have been ruined as a result of our disastrous marijuana policy. It is time to correct these wrongs,” stated Biden.
He advised governors of state to follow suit.
Biden stated, “Just as no one should be in a federal prison purely for marijuana use, no one should be in a municipal jail or state prison for the same reason.”
A senior administration official estimated that the pardons may touch over 6,500 individuals with past federal convictions.
Tilray Brands and Canopy Growth both increased by more than 20% in response to President Biden’s comments.
Supporters applauded the decision and its effect on racial disparities in the American judicial system.
Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization, stated, “The United States can never legitimately legalize marijuana until it addresses the outmoded laws that associated thousands of young Black men with hardened drug dealers.”
“They were incarcerated for years for simple possession, a nonviolent charge, of a material that red states and blue states are now rapidly legalizing.”
Some Republicans, whom US voters prefer to Democrats when it comes to tackling crime-related legislation, were critical of it.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, “In the middle of a crime surge and on the verge of a recession, Joe Biden is granting blanket pardons to drug offenders, many of whom pled down from more serious crimes.” This is a desperate attempt to divert attention away from ineffective leadership.
Biden stated that certain restrictions must remain in place despite the relaxation of regulations around the nation.
“Finally, even if federal and state regulation of marijuana develops, important restrictions on trafficking, marketing, and sales to minors must be maintained,” stated Biden.
According to cannabis-focused research organization BDSA’s September forecasts, the worldwide cannabis sector will reach $55 billion in sales by 2026, with the U.S. market reaching $40 billion, up from $25 billion in 2018.
According to industry analysts, federal reforms in the United States might substantially increase these figures.