Despite a movement of cannabis legalization across the country, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of American citizens in jail for marijuana-related crimes. Some of whom have never been arrested or charged in their lives. It often comes down to the wrong place at the wrong time when someone gets busted for cannabis possession or distribution (intention to sell). In today’s blog, we’re answering all your questions about cannabis pardons as it’s a crucial topic in our current societal climate.
Additionally, there’s a racial disparity when it comes to who exactly serves jail time. We cannot ignore the fact that black Americans often face heavier charges than their white counterparts. It’s not uncommon for police officers to heavily patrol predominantly black neighborhoods in search of “criminal activity.” We put that in quotations because cannabis consumption hardly seems criminal in our eyes.
Who Gets Cannabis Pardons?
The farther we come along in legalization, the more pressure US government officials to act on cannabis pardons. This is how the Restoration of Human Rights defines cannabis pardons, “A Pardon Advisory Board policy adopted in 2019 authorizes people convicted of marijuana possession who have had no convictions in the past five years to submit a Summary Pardon Application.”
Now that recreational cannabis is legal in a handful of states, shouldn’t those charged with related crimes be released from jail? Shouldn’t all cannabis-related crimes in California be pardoned? The same goes for
- New York
The list goes on. No one should be sitting in jail for cannabis use or in these states—and yet hundreds are.
Will President Biden Allow Pardons?
Just this week, over 150 celebrities, including Drake and Killer Mike, banded together to pressure Biden to carry out mass cannabis pardons. They’re asking Biden to issue a “full, complete, and unconditional pardon to all people with non-violent federal marijuana convictions,” according to Marijuana Movement.
These celebrities have issued a letter to the President with their demands. It says that the war on drugs “has crushed many souls and countless futures while spreading intolerable levels of mistrust and dysfunction between minority communities and those sworn to protect them.”
“The harms of incarceration are obvious, but the pains of federal marijuana convictions transcend prison walls, making it more difficult for someone to get a job, access affordable housing, and receive an education,” it continues. “A conviction can forever limit an individual’s constitutional rights and can put the American dream further out of reach for an entire family.”
More Cannabis Pardons Coming Soon
In August 2021, the New York Times reported that Biden Administration officials “have quietly begun evaluating clemency requests and have signaled to activists that President Biden could begin issuing pardons or commutations by the midpoint of his term.” Outlets say he’s developing a pardons plan with a focus on racial justice.
It won’t be a quick process, though. The effort is reportedly part of a 35-year plan that hopes to shift criminal justice policies. We can only hope that the future looks brighter and more promising for America’s youth in correlation with cannabis. Some of the people in jail for cannabis are 18-years old if not younger. They should not have to sit behind bars for something that’s largely legal now.
Share your thoughts and opinions with us down below. We’re curious what you think about cannabis pardons and how they should work in this country.