White House Promotes Biden’s Marijuana Pardons Before The State Of The Union Speech!

Ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union speech, the White House and other key officials praised the policies and accomplishments of the Biden administration, including marijuana pardons, drug sentencing reform, harm reduction, and increased drug war enforcement for fentanyl.

The words were designed to expand on the basic principles of the annual speech, but President Joe Biden did not end up overtly discussing cannabis when he stood before the joint session of Congress. An information sheet released by the White House indicated that the president will “emphasize progress” on criminal justice issues during the speech and that he would specifically address the “failed approach to marijuana and crack cocaine.”

According to the Safer America Plan fact sheet, “the prohibition of marijuana possession has upended too many lives—for behavior that is now lawful in many jurisdictions.” While marijuana usage is quite common among persons of all races, people of color are disproportionately represented in correctional facilities.

White House Promotes Biden's Marijuana Pardons Before The State Of The Union Speech!

It goes on to say that “lifting barriers to housing, employment, and educational prospects” is one of the results of Joe Biden‘s pardon proclamation, which freed thousands of people from the consequences of federal cannabis possession crimes.

However, as the fact sheet notes, he also encouraged governors to follow his lead and grant relief at the state level, where their authority may be different and where the vast majority of cannabis cases have been prosecuted. The pardons he provided do not technically expunge the possession records, as that falls beyond his executive authority.

One further facet of the president’s cannabis activities that the White House is stressing in the lead-up to the address is a review of the scheduling of marijuana, with the explanation that this is an example of the administration being “driven by science and evidence.”

White House Promotes Biden's Marijuana Pardons Before The State Of The Union Speech!

To add to his reputation as a prominent drug warrior on Capitol Hill, Biden’s plan “calls on Congress to remove once and for all the racially unfair sentence difference between crack cocaine and powder cocaine convictions.”

Administration efforts to remove the so-called X-waiver, which has restricted healthcare providers’ access to prescription medications meant to combat opioid use disorder, and increase access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone were highlighted in a separate factsheet released by the administration on Tuesday.

Advocates applaud the harm-reduction strategy, but the White House is also promoting stricter enforcement and scheduling measures with respect to fentanyl. For instance, it described how Border Patrol agents had seized an all-time high quantity of narcotics.

During his own speech, Vice President Biden echoed Trump’s call for a “massive effort” to end “fentanyl manufacturing, sale, and trafficking,” including the use of “additional drug detection equipment to scan cargo and stop pills and powder at the border.”n”Collaborating with couriers like FedEx to screen more parcels for narcotics,” he stated. Tough laws against fentanyl trafficking with severe punishments.

On Tuesday, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Rahul Gupta held a teleconference with the media to discuss the administration’s efforts to maintain fentanyl and its analogs under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Biden “is going to be calling on Congress to look at that to make this permanent—and it will be important in order to protect Americans from the threat of lethal drugs, such as fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances,” he said of the temporary classification of the opioid, which is set to expire on December 31, 2024.

White House Promotes Biden's Marijuana Pardons Before The State Of The Union Speech!

Biden and his administration have regularly applauded the pardon action in recent months, including on Martin Luther King Jr. Day when the president called the gesture a manifestation of his dedication to “fair justice.” A few persons with marijuana or other drug offenses were among the half-dozen more pardons granted by the president at the close of last year.

In December, Susan Rice, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said that the president’s broader cannabis clemency and directive for an administrative review into cannabis scheduling were important parts of the administration’s “remarkably productive year” and helped address the country’s “failed approach to marijuana.”

In the meantime, as the administration conducts the cannabis scheduling review, a bipartisan group of 29 senators from both the House and the Senate wrote a letter to the president in December asking for his official support of federal marijuana legalization.

White House Promotes Biden's Marijuana Pardons Before The State Of The Union Speech!

The senators didn’t specifically ask for Biden to take any administrative action to speed up legalization on his own, but their enthusiasm for more active involvement from the White House in supporting change is clear.

Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was copied on the letter and he tweeted a link to a story in Marijuana Moment that covers the president’s administrative scheduling instruction for cannabis.

Becerra, who has a lengthy record of supporting cannabis legalization as a congressman and as California’s attorney general, said at the recent overdose prevention event, “We’re going to take a look at what science tells us and what the evidence tells us.” That’s going to be the guiding principle for our actions, and we’re hoping it will be the same for the federal government.

White House Promotes Biden's Marijuana Pardons Before The State Of The Union Speech!

The secretary pledged that the government will “work as rapidly as we can” to complete the scientific evaluation after the president’s decision in October. With that goal in mind, he has already had a conversation with the FDA commissioner.

The president’s move, according to Gupta, is “historic,” and he previously stated that there are “obviously” medical benefits of cannabis. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also pledged to move swiftly to complete the president’s independent scheduling review, which may lead to a recommendation to shift cannabis to lower scheduling or remove it entirely, thereby legalizing the plant at the federal level.

White House Promotes Biden's Marijuana Pardons Before The State Of The Union Speech!

In addition, in December, the president signed a marijuana research measure into law, making it the first piece of independent federal cannabis reform legislation in American history. Multiple polls have shown that the majority of Americans approve of the president’s pardon and do not believe that marijuana should be classed as a federal Schedule I substance.


Sheela Sharma

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Sheela is a skilled and experienced writer with a deep passion for all things related to the CBD industry. She enjoys writing everything related to CBD and Marijuana. When she isn't writing she likes to watch tv series and listen to podcasts.

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