In July, President Joe Biden reiterated his belief that no one should be behind bars for using cannabis.
In his first comments addressing cannabis since taking office, President Joe Biden (D) said on Saturday that his administration is working to fulfill a campaign pledge to release federal cannabis prisoners.
Asked about the issue by New York Post reporter Steven Nelson shortly after arriving at the White House via Marine One, the president said: “I don’t think anyone should be in prison for the use of marijuana. We’re working on the crime bill now.”
It was not immediately clear which piece of legislation the president was referencing, Ganjapreneur reported.
Six United States senators recently sent a letter to the president asking him to deschedule cannabis and honor his campaign pledge to free and pardon non-violent federal cannabis prisoners.
However, despite the administration’s stated intent, prospective White House interns are still being asked about their past cannabis use.
Additionally, cannabis consumption is listed as an activity that “could affect eligibility,” even if the consumption happened in an area of the country where cannabis use has been legalized.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been limited in his past actions on cannabis, commuting the sentences of 75 nonviolent drug offenders, including some with cannabis-related charges, in recognition of Second Chance Month.
According to Marijuana Moment, “At a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing in May, Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and other Democratic lawmakers stressed the need for reforming the federal clemency process, calling for applications to be streamlined to make it easier for people with non-violent federal drug convictions to get relief.”
In December, congressional lawmakers introduced the Fair and Independent Experts in Clemency (FIX Clemency) Act. The bill would take clemency review away from the Justice Department and instead establish an independent board appointed by the president. The board would be tasked with reviewing clemency petitions and making recommendations to the president.
Supporters of the bill argue that the current clemency process is too slow and biased. They argue that an independent board would be more fair and impartial, and would speed up the clemency process.
It seems that the President is in agreement with many Americans that cannabis should not be a crime. However, there are still some hoops to jump through before non-violent federal cannabis prisoners can be released.
Hopefully, more action will be taken soon to release all those who have been unfairly imprisoned for using or selling a plant that is now legal in many parts of the country.