Potential cannabis legalization has Congressional members asking for sweeping pardons

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A group of legislators on Capitol Hill ask Biden to pardon all non-violent cannabis offenses

President Joe Biden has been petitioned to pardon non-violent cannabis convictions by a considerable number of congressmen as legalization could possibly be pending. A letter was sent to Biden earlier this week, asking him to use his executive authority to pardon all of those people incarcerated in the federal prison system for non-violent marijuana-related convictions.

The use of this presidential clemency is predicated on similar actions employed by former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter back in the 1970s when a blanket pardon was given to all Americans who had avoided the draft during the Vietnam period by moving out of the country or simply disappearing for the duration of the war.

Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Representatives Barbara Lee of California and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon were the lead writers of the letter to the President, which was signed by 37 members of Congress in all. The letter made note of the number of states in which marijuana legalization had already passed as well as the 2020 vote in the House of Representatives in favor of a motion to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis at the federal level.

The letter goes on to implore the president, “until the day that Congress sends you a marijuana reform bill to sign, you have a unique ability to lead on criminal justice reform and provide immediate relief to thousands of Americans.”

During his campaign for the presidency, Biden expressed support for automatic expungements for prior marijuana convictions plus the legalization of medical marijuana as well as the rescheduling, or decriminalization of marijuana and allowing individual states to set their own cannabis policies.