During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has “every intention of using his clemency power” but did not provide any additional information on when any presidential pardons might happen. According to Marijuana Moment, Psaki was asked by a reporter if Biden would be following the holiday tradition of issuing pardons.
“I would just reiterate that the president has every intention of using his clemency power,” Psaki said during the press briefing. “And there has been some reporting which is accurate out there about looking at nonviolent drug offenders, but I don’t have anything to update you on at this point in time.”
Biden spoke about cannabis reform during the campaign trail and promised to advocate for decriminalization, rescheduling, and expungement for people with cannabis convictions.
Last August, Psaki spoke about how Biden is exploring multiple routes to provide relief to certain nonviolent drug offenders through the use of his clemency power.
Throughout Biden’s first year as president, multiple lawmakers and advocates have voiced their concern over Biden’s lack of presidential action on cannabis reform in the form of expungement.
Last September, more than 150 athletes, politicians, lawmakers, academics, and celebrities signed a letter requesting Biden to implore issuing a presidential pardon to people with nonviolent marijuana convictions.
“Biden needs to lean on his executive authority now. He has been delaying and underutilizing it so far,” Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted on Tuesday. “Time is running out – we need to move and use alternative paths.”
Members of the Republican Party have also called out Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to begin the process of decriminalizing cannabis.
“I asked @POTUS [President of The United States] yet again to take this immediately available action while Congres works towards a bipartisan agreement to end federal #cannabis prohibition,” Rep. Dave Joyce announced in a tweet last week.
Thousands of people with low-level federal drug offenses were granted home confinement to complete their sentences earlier this year. This group of people has been following any developments into Biden issuing presidential pardons for nonviolent cannabis crimes.
Kevin Ring is the president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) and has been following any updates regarding presidential clemency.
“We hope clemency remains on the table for those who no longer warrant home confinement,” Ring said in a press release.