The state’s Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman added his voice to those urging President Biden to decriminalize marijuana.
“It’s time we finally decriminalized marijuana,” Fetterman said on Monday. “The president needs to exercise executive power to start decriminalizing marijuana, I’d love to see him do that before his Pittsburgh visit. It’s just common sense and Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support the decriminalization of marijuana.”
A Fetterman spokesperson He said the governor plans to have Biden talk about the issue when the president visits Pittsburgh on Labor Day. Fetterman made weed legalization part of the Senate platform.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about Fetterman’s comments during a briefing with reporters on Monday, and she said the administration had nothing to disclose about its cannabis-related enforcement action. However, he noted that Biden reduced his sentence of 75 in April and granted three pardons.
“The president supports leaving decisions on the legalization of recreational use to the states, rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can examine its positive and negative effects, and at the federal level, he supports the decriminalization of cannabis use and the automatic deletion of previous criminal records,” Jean-Pierre said. .
Later at the briefing, when asked about the use of executive action to reschedule marijuana, which currently has the same classification as heroin, Jean-Pierre reiterated that the White House had nothing new to reveal. When asked if Biden has the authority to reclassify marijuana, Jean-Pierre refused to respond, saying the administration was “making progress on its marijuana-related promises”, pointing out that companies have been granted licenses to grow cannabis for research purposes.
The White House’s reluctance to make big moves in cannabis policy has been a point of frustration for many Democratic politicians and activists, and Biden continues to oppose full legalization. In July, six Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, sent a letter urging the administration to step up efforts to reclassify marijuana so that it is no longer considered a Schedule I controlled substance.
“The Administration’s failure to coordinate a timely review of cannabis policy harms thousands of Americans, slows research and deprives Americans of their ability to use cannabis for medical or other purposes,” the senators said. “We ask the Biden Administration to act quickly to rectify this decade of injustice that has harmed individuals, particularly the Black and Brown communities.”
The reason for the cannabis reclassification was also important to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who presented a plan to decriminalize the drug earlier this year. Marijuana is currently legal for recreational use in 19 states and the District of Columbia. With tens of millions of Americans now living in areas where recreational marijuana is legal for adults, with some companies making millions from the drug and other Americans being imprisoned for cannabis-related crimes, the contrast between federal and state laws is becoming increasingly clear.
Recent polls show that roughly two-thirds of Americans support the legalization of marijuana; A Pew Research survey published in June shows that nearly nine in 10 Black Americans support some form of legalization (57% said the drug should be legal for both medical and recreational use). , 28% said it should be legal for medical use only). Legalization advocates also point to racial disparity in cannabis-related arrests, as noted in the American Civil Liberties Union’s 2020 report. For the first time in Gallup poll history, more Americans now say they smoke more marijuana than tobacco. Supporters of the reform hope that Biden, who has seen positive movement in poll numbers in recent weeks, will take action on this issue.