MDMJ’s Statement on President Biden’s Pardon Pledge





Today’s announcement by President Biden is a seminal moment for cannabis reform in the United States. We applaud the White House for taking steps to undo the harms of the drug war for some people convicted of simple possession of cannabis.

However, we also call upon the President to do more. Very few Americans are federally charged with simple possession of cannabis and even fewer remain behind bars. In fact, there is no one currently in federal jail for simple cannabis possession. We call on the President to go one step further and pardon Americans convicted of other nonviolent cannabis offenses such as distribution and cultivation. It’s these prisoners who need President Biden’s pardon the most.

With respect to working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice on rescheduling cannabis out of Schedule I, we call on the President to work with Congress to completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Moving cannabis to Schedule II, where it would join cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamine, will still perpetuate the failed war on drugs and continue to allow adults to be arrested for possession, consumption, distribution, and cultivation. Simply put, we want cannabis to be entirely descheduled. As a natural plant, we believe cannabis should have never been placed in the CSA.

Earlier this week MDMJ, along with our sister chapters in DC, Virginia, and New York, had called upon President Biden to release 100 cannabis prisoners this month or we would join Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Last Prisoner Project in a series of demonstrations on October 24. This demonstration has not been canceled due to today’s announcement.

We are unaware of 100 cannabis prisoners being released at this time. Moreover, the demonstrations will continue to highlight the need for the White House to fully deschedule cannabis and the Democratic Party to take cannabis reform seriously. Like we seriously want Congress to pass full legalization and we seriously want to see the names of all cannabis prisoners who are being released. Today there are many cannabis growers and entrepreneurs who remain locked up because they were not charged with simple cannabis possession, but with cultivation and distribution. They used the plant to help feed their families and to help terminally-ill friends, and are considered heroes to many cannabis activists. They deserve pardons too.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 19, we are linking up with our sister groups for a special Zoom Sesh. Biden’s recent announcement will be one of our topics of discussion. Please put it on your calendar and join us!

WHO: Supporters of Releasing Cannabis Prisoners
WHAT: DCMJ / MDMJ / VAMJ / NYMJ Zoom Sesh – Civil Disobedience Edition
WHEN: 7pm EST, October 19, 2022
WHERE: Zoom (Click here to Register!)
WHY: President Biden needs to uphold his campaign promise and immediately release at least 100 cannabis prisoners

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