Biden announces pardons for thousands convicted of federal marijuana possession under federal law. This move brings him closer to keeping a promise he made during his campaign in 2020 to try to get the drug decriminalised a little more than a month before the midterm election.
According to top administration officials, the executive order will be beneficial to 6,500 people who have received federal convictions between the years 1992 and 2021, as well as thousands of others who have been convicted under the criminal law of the District of Columbia. Officials elaborated on the number of people who were affected by the situation by stating that “there are presently no prisoners in federal jail just for simple possession of marijuana.”
In a tweet, Vice President Joe Biden made a request to the Attorney General of the United States to begin the process of “reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is now classified as a schedule 1 drug, which means that there is “no generally accepted medicinal use and a significant potential for abuse” associated with the substance. It is scheduled higher than other very dangerous substances like fentanyl and is included in the same category as heroin.
As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.
Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach. Allow me to lay them out.
— President Biden (@POTUS) October 6, 2022
Those who are qualified may soon be able to receive certifications of pardon from the United States Department of Justice. However, the order issued by Vice President Biden only applies to convictions handed down at the federal level; it is unknown whether any action will be taken in the state of Kentucky.
In a tweet on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden invited state governors to think about adopting similar actions. In addition, the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, has the authority to pardon anybody convicted of marijuana possession crimes at the state level.
According to a statement that Vice President Joe Biden made public through Twitter, “Just as no one should be in a federal prison merely for having marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason either.”
Legal cannabis in Kentucky
State Representative Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville who is the primary sponsor of a bill to legalise medical marijuana and which has twice passed the House but has been allowed to die without a vote in the Senate, described the prospect of Vice President Joe rescheduling the drug as “the ballgame.”
Nemes stated that this “takes away the final significant issue to the passing of the measure, that it’s prohibited nationally,” despite the fact that the federal agriculture bill clearly enables states to operate marijuana programmes. “It takes away the last major impediment to the passage of the bill,” Nemes added. “Because when I walk around, people have three, four, or five complaints, but it kind of boils down to that one,” she explained.
The opposition from inside the Republican caucus in the Senate has been the bottleneck for a very long time for Nemes’ measure, which has stopped it from even obtaining a vote in committee.
Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Republican representing Crofton who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated on Thursday that a federal rescheduling would be “a game changer for Kentucky and every other state.” Westerfield made the announcement at the beginning of this year that he now supports the medical marijuana bill.
What kind of reaction do you expect from Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky?
The team representing Beshear did not provide an instant response to a request for comment that was made by The Courier Journal on Thursday. However, his previous acts provide some insight into the way he feels about the subject at hand.
Beshear, who was serving as Kentucky’s attorney general at the time, issued a statement in August 2019 that supported Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell’s recent decision to no longer prosecute people found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. Beshear’s statement was in support of O’Connell’s recent decision to no longer prosecute people found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. O’Connell’s decision was “based on proven racial inequities and the disproportional repercussions and lifetime impact of a conviction,” he said. He also said that county attorneys have “broad latitude in allocating resources within their various districts.”
In the year 2020, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 within correctional facilities, then-Lt. Governor Steve Beshear shortened the sentences of nonviolent offenders whose crimes included drug offenses such as minor marijuana possession.
And in a study by Beshear’s medical marijuana advisory group, which he convened earlier this year to gather views ahead of prospective executive action concerning the legalisation of medicinal marijuana, 98.6 percent of respondents stated that they would support the move if it were to be made.
Beshear creates a committee to advise on the medical use of cannabis: To be more specific, what exactly does that imply, man?
Beshear is a big advocate for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state of Kentucky. In a June executive order, Beshear said that he thought the use of medical marijuana could both improve the quality of life for people with long-term illnesses and help them become less dependent on drugs like opioids.
However, the broad measure will only apply to mere possession of marijuana, although the majority of people who are already incarcerated for marijuana-related offences are accused of selling or distributing the substance. This means that they will not be released from jail immediately.
An official stated that none of the 6,500 individuals who are anticipated to be granted a federal pardon are now serving time in jail, and that “there is no one that is currently in federal prison just for simple possession of marijuana.”
According to a recent estimate produced by the Congressional Research Service, there are currently 2,700 federal cannabis convicts. Among those serving life terms is Pedro Moreno, 62, who sold marijuana smuggled from Mexico between the years 1986 and 1996. Luke Scarmazzo, age 42, is another federal offender who is now serving 14 years of a sentence of 22 years for operating a medicinal marijuana company in the state of California.
Moreno stated in April to The Post that he would “die in prison for marijuana” if he did not win mercy from the executive branch. “All I can do is hope that President’s statement that he will liberate all of the cannabis inmates was made in good faith,” she stated.
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