More than 150 high-profile celebrities from pro athletes Deion Sanders and Kevin Garnett; musicians Drake, Killer Mike, and 2 Chainz; cannabis advocates Weldon Angelos and Shaleen Title; former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and a host of elected state officials from around the nation; and law enforcement officials, delivered a letter to President Biden appealing for “a full, complete, and unconditional pardon” for all federal cannabis offenders.
An excerpt from the letter:
“Although the [drug] war impacts individuals of all races, the effects of drug prohibition—from surveillance and arrest, to trial and conviction, to incarceration and reentry into society—are felt most keenly by the poor, the powerless, and people of color. Reckoning with these harms is a critical civil rights issue, which must proceed with what Dr. King memorably described as the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ This resolve is witnessed today in both red and blue states, from coast to coast, as the American people call for an end to marijuana prohibition.”
The letter also highlights the successful state legalization policies that have pushed cannabis reforms forward since medical marijuana first became legal in 1996 and recreational legalization began in 2012.
The letter urges the President to honor his election campaign promises. During a 2019 Democratic Party Debate then-candidate Biden said: “I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period. And I think everyone—anyone who has a record—should be let out of jail, their records expunged, … completely zeroed out.”
Despite being considered the more reform-friendly candidate in the 2020 presidential election, Biden’s administration has failed to follow through with any of his cannabis-related campaign promises. The White House has instead punished staff members for cannabis use. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s reform plan still includes rescheduling the plant to Schedule II, which would maintain prohibition for general consumption.