JLUSA Applauds President Biden’s Executive Orders on Marijuana Justice

October 6, 2022

In response to the Biden administration’s announcement today regarding marijuana justice, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) President and CEO DeAnna Hoskins issued the following statement: “President Biden’s announcement today on marijuana is beyond a ‘game changer.’ It is life-changing for thousands of Americans living with a federal marijuana conviction—both those who are currently incarcerated and those who have already served their sentences but have continued to carry the stigma and experience the collateral consequences of those convictions.”

Today President Biden announced:

  1. Unconditionally “pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession.”
  2. “Calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses.”
  3. Directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Attorney General “to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”

“By wiping the records clean, President Biden is opening up access to workforce and housing opportunities, as well as creating a pathway for people to finally participate in the new ‘green’ economy of legal marijuana in states across the country,” said Hoskins. “Black and Brown folks have disproportionately been impacted by the so-called ‘War on Drugs.’ It’s past time to not only reverse the damages it has caused but to open the doors of opportunity so that it’s no longer primarily white men getting rich off of what Black men went to prison over for so many years.”

“It is perhaps most significant that President Biden is using his executive powers to call on state governors to follow suit,” Hoskins continued. “Now, no elected governor or state representative or candidate running for higher office in this upcoming midterm election can say, ‘Sorry, we can’t do it.’ Yes, you can! The President just took all your excuses off the table. Your move! Which governors and gubernatorial candidates are now going to step up? You have one month before Election Day. Show us what you plan to do.”

“Finally,” Hoskins concluded, “as a formerly incarcerated person from a community where drugs was the preferred economy, because people live in survival mode, to now have those records wiped clean and so many barriers removed honestly has me excited on the next bold steps the President is willing to take. Yes, lives are being changed today for the better. Now we need HHS and the DOJ to deschedule marijuana completely, in order to fully remove criminal penalties, and we call for broader clemency and/or resentencing for people who’ve been incarcerated on other marijuana charges. This is what many who voted for then-candidate Biden were hoping for, and he has delivered today on an important part of that promise. Onward!”

Contact: Stephen Roach Knight, stephen@jlusa.org / jlusa@ellecomm.com

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