Joe Biden Has Not Confirmed If He Will Sign A Bill To Enact Federal Cannabis Reform
At the start of the week, Jen Psaki was met with various questions about Biden and cannabis. Which, she was not able to confirm whether President Joe Biden would sign a bill to end marijuana prohibition. Psaki also went on to say his position on cannabis reform is facing issues. The concerns are with broader proposals that congressional Democratic leaders are working on. She was also questioned about his thoughts on cannabis banking reform.
This involves the misunderstanding between public opinion favoring legalization. As well as the president’s opposing stance and the President’s goal to go over clemency applications for those suffering federal sentences from cannabis. The careful acknowledgment of cannabis legalization stems from the national cannabis holiday of 4/20.
This recent passing of 420 was a day that has faced a wide range of politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who voiced his support for comprehensive marijuana reform. Psaki has no answers for the Senate leader’s remarks and was asked whether Biden would support legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition.
“The president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts and, at the federal level, he supports decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records,” she said. “He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana so that’s his point of view on the issue.”
The President’s opinion on the matter is bluntly known. Yet the big question has been will his stance on adult-use legalization is so mighty that he would refuse a bill to federally legalize cannabis. For instances such as those bills are right now being composed in the House and Senate.
When Will Biden Back Federal Cannabis Reform?
When Psaki was confronted with the question as to whether President Biden would sign the bill she indicated he may not. She went on to state “I just have outlined what his position is, which isn’t the same as what the House and Senate have proposed, but they have not yet passed a bill.”
The interviewer asked another question that was in reference to a campaign promise Biden made to legalize cannabis. During that time Biden said those who have been sent to federal jails over non-violent marijuana offenses should be pardoned. However, Psaki said that the issue would be faced if marijuana became a Schedule II under federal law. This is a questionable claim provided that there are still severe punishments for crimes concerning drugs in that category as well. She also did not present any info on whether Bidens is taking the steps to push for the simple scheduling change.
Later in the briefing, Jen Psaki pressed with another question about where Biden stands on cannabis banking. Especially with, The House recently passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act. He said it was a “good question,” Yet Psaki was not sure of this bill. With this, she responded to the question by saying she would come back with an answer later.
Psaki was constantly asked about Biden’s opposition to cannabis reform. She went on to say that the president supports decriminalizing cannabis and legalizing medical marijuana. As well Biden also wants more research on the “positive and negative effects” of adult-use legalization.
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Final Thoughts On Biden And Cannabis Reform
“He’ll look at the research once that’s concluded,” she said. “Of course we understand the movement that’s happening toward it. I’m speaking for what his position is and what long, consistently has been his position. He wants to decriminalize, but again, he’ll look at the research of the positive and negative impacts.”
When it came time to end the press conference Psaki was asked one last question. She was asked if the new administration has taken a second look at applications for clemency for federal cannabis convictions. The reporter used the case of Luke Scarmazzo as an example of a potential pardon. Luke Scarmazzo was a man who was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. This punishment came for running a state-legal medical cannabis business in California.
“Given, as you’ve noted in the briefing, the president’s support for decriminalization, support for expunging exactly these types of offenses, are there any plans to revisit some of those bids for clemency?” the reporter asked.
“Well, I would just take it as an opportunity to reiterate that the president supports legalizing medicinal marijuana,” Psaki said. “It sounds like this would have been applicable in this case, and of course decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records. In terms of individual cases, I can’t get ahead of those obviously.”
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