On President’s Day, the National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform (NORML), along with a coalition of corporate groups and criminal justice reform advocates, calls on President Joe Biden to implement his campaign to erase the criminal records of these laws using nonviolent marijuana beliefs .
In a letter to the White House, NORML alongside Project Mission Green / The Weldon Project, REFORM Alliance, Criminal Justice Council (CCJ); Taking Action For Good (TAG), The Last Mile, CAN-DO Foundation, Libertas Institute, Buried Alive Project, Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), United States Cannabis Coalition (USCC), and National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA); The groups highlighted President Biden’s commitments in the need for action campaign.
“President Biden was clear during the election campaign that his administration would make criminal justice reform a priority, and he emphasized his desire to erase the records of those bearing the stigma of federal marijuana convictions.” said NORML managing director Erik Altieri. “Keeping this election promise would be an important first step in eliminating the past mistakes of nearly a century of marijuana bans and healing the wounds of the many Americans who have suffered needlessly from these failed public policies. In 2021, it is evident that the criminalization of cannabis and the lifelong missed opportunities that come with a criminal conviction for marijuana are doing far more harm than responsible cannabis use itself. “
Excerpts from the letter:
President Biden, we urge you to clearly demonstrate your commitment to criminal justice reform by immediately offering a general apology to all former federal non-violent cannabis offenders in the United States.
In November 2019, during a primary democratic debate, you stated: “I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period. And I think everyone – anyone who has a record – should be released from prison, their records erased and completely zeroed. “You are now able to do just that with a categorical pardon. Such grants are hardly unprecedented. Presidents of both political parties have taken such action when circumstances warranted. In 1974, President Ford signed a proclamation granting a conditional pardon for violations of the Selective Service Act that had not left the United States. In 1977, President Carter categorically apologized for violations of the selective service law in order to get a grip on the war and the divisions it had caused in the past.
When a vast majority of Americans no longer believe cannabis should be illegal, aggressive enforcement tactics are quick to lose support. A universal pardon for all past and current federal nonviolent cannabis offenders would be a great, ambitious, and impactful move that would effectively signal to marginalized communities that their suffering is seen and that the government is trying to repair their harm.
At the same time, NORML published a petition calling on Americans of all political directions to join the call for the president to be pardoned.
Sign the petition to President Biden now!