Clemency and justice for those imprisoned over Marijuana

We welcome President Biden’s decision to pardon all those serving federal sentences for marijuana possession, as well as the direction to the Justice Dept and the Department of Health and Human Services to work on rescheduling marijuana from the ludicrous Schedule 1 designation (equal to heroin and fentanyl). This small act of clemency brings a measure of justice to those roughly 6500 individuals under federal imprisonment for marijuana “crimes” and offers a ray of hope to the rest of the country that the long delayed path towards full legalization can begin with this one step. Sometimes even cynical election ploys can move the ball forward for Liberty.

However, as the somewhat small scale of people affected by the pardons shows, the vast majority of people suffering imprisonment for marijuana possession or production are at the state level, and beyond the ability of the White House to pardon or help. And as millions of Americans are seeing, legalization at the state level has not caused social ills to increase, nor acted as a gateway to “harder” drugs and substance abuse; but has instead led to the emergence of millions of dollars in commercial activity, boosting the economies of the states that have legalized. There is no longer any plausible excuse for maintaining marijuana prohibition, nor any justification for keeping individuals convicted solely for possession or production locked away in prison.

We call on Governor Youngkin to do better than President Biden by pardoning all state prisoners convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes and we call for immediate personal and commercial legalization of marijuana and industrial hemp. We call on Attorney General Miyares to drop all pending prosecutions of marijuana possession or production, and to refuse those prosecutions in the future.

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