More than 150 celebrities, athletes, politicians, law enforcement professionals, and academics signed a letter that was delivered to President Joe Biden imploring him to issue a “full, complete and unconditional pardon” to all individuals with non-violent federal marijuana convictions. This occurs amidst the administration actively encouraging around 1,000 people who were temporarily placed on home confinement for federal drug offenses to fill out clemency application forms. The new letter– signed by high-brow stars like Drake, Killer Mike, Meek Mill, Deion Sanders, Kevin Garnett, Al Harrington, and more– 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 letter continues, “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 concludes, “A conviction can forever limit an individual’s constitutional rights and can put the American dream further out of reach for an entire family.” The memorandum referenced Biden’s comments on the campaign trail supporting cannabis decriminalization and committing to expunge marijuana convictions.
Civil rights activist, Weldon Angelos, who received a presidential pardon from former President Donald Trump, said, “No one should continue to bear the scarlet letter of a federal conviction for marijuana offenses of the past.” The letter–which was also signed by 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign, and T.I.–goes on to say there’s precedent for the relief, pointing out actions taken by Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in the 1970s to categorically forgive Americans who avoided the draft for the Vietnam War. It reads, “By your act of constitutional grace, a general clemency will send a clear and powerful message that our country is truly taking a new course on criminal justice policy and practice.”
Other signatories include former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Mark Holden of Koch Industries, clemency recipient Alice Johnson and state lawmakers in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas legislatures. Former federal prosecutors and other law enforcement professionals also signed on. Seeing high-profile celebrities get involved with marijuana reform is great to see within the cannabis community and is needed now more than ever.