A group of more than 150 high-profile individuals including musicians, athletes, elected officials, advocates, law enforcement, and prominent business leaders delivered a letter to President Joe Biden (D) on Tuesday requesting “a full, complete, and unconditional pardon” for all federal cannabis offenders.
Some signees of the letter include celebrity musicians Drake, Killer Mike, and 2 Chainz; pro athletes Deion Sanders and Kevin Garnett; former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and a host of elected state officials from around the nation; and cannabis advocates Weldon Angelos and Shaleen Title.
The letter calls on the president to honor his election campaign promises, recalling a 2019 Democratic Party Debate where then-candidate Biden said: “I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period. And I think everyone—anyone who has a record—should be let out of jail, their records expunged, … completely zeroed out.”
The letter also references the drug war’s unfair treatment and disproportionate punishments for poor communities and communities of color and highlights the successful state legalization policies that have carried cannabis reforms over the last near-decade.
“Although the [drug] war impacts individuals of all races, the effects of drug prohibition—from surveillance and arrest, to trial and conviction, to incarceration and reentry into society—are felt most keenly by the poor, the powerless, and people of color. Reckoning with these harms is a critical civil rights issue, which must proceed with what Dr. King memorably described as the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ This resolve is witnessed today in both red and blue states, from coast to coast, as the American people call for an end to marijuana prohibition.” — Letter excerpt
While Biden was considered the more reform-friendly candidate in the 2020 presidential election, his administration has so far failed to follow up on any cannabis-related campaign promises. Instead, the White House has punished cannabis use among its staff members and, in April, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the president’s reform plan still includes rescheduling the plant to Schedule II, which would make it easier to research but would maintain prohibition for general consumption.
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