Fetterman Calls for President Biden to Decriminalize Cannabis

Fetterman Calls for President Biden to Decriminalize Cannabis

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The Pennsylvania Senatorial candidate urges the President to take action to decriminalize marijuana.




According to a recent report, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and current Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, John Fetterman, has called for President Biden to decriminalize cannabis nationwide.


In a statement, Fetterman shares, "It's long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana. The President needs to use his executive authority to begin descheduling marijuana. This is just common sense, and Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support decriminalizing marijuana."


"It's long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana. The President needs to use his executive authority to begin descheduling marijuana. This is just common sense, and Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support decriminalizing marijuana."

- Lt. Governor John Fetterman (D), Pennsylvania


Following a fact-finding marijuana listening tour across the state in 2019, the Lt. Governor issued a report concluding that a significant majority of Pennsylvania residents favored legalization.


During the President's Labor Day visit to Pittsburgh, Fetterman spoke with Biden about the issue of legalizing cannabis at the federal level and has the issue firmly placed as a plank of his Senatorial platform.


And when asked about the conversation between the President and Fetterman at a recent White House briefing, WH Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre shared, "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."


"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."

- White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre


And while this stance is a significant shift from Biden's position prior to the 2020 election, the President continues to oppose full legalization, and many Democratic politicians and proponents continue to express their frustration with the White House's lack of action concerning its cannabis policy.


As a result, in July, six Democratic senators, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, sent a letter to the administration calling on the President to increase efforts to reclassify marijuana from its current Schedule I status as a controlled substance.


The senators' letter states in part, "The Administration's failure to coordinate a timely review of its cannabis policy is harming thousands of Americans, slowing research, and depriving Americans of their ability to use marijuana for medical or other purposes. We ask that the Biden Administration act quickly to rectify this decade-long injustice harming individuals, especially Black and Brown communities."


"The Administration's failure to coordinate a timely review of its cannabis policy is harming thousands of Americans, slowing research, and depriving Americans of their ability to use marijuana for medical or other purposes. We ask that the Biden Administration act quickly to rectify this decade-long injustice harming individuals, especially Black and Brown communities."

- Letter from U.S. Senators to President Biden


The reclassifying of cannabis has also become a central issue for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who introduced a plan to decriminalize marijuana earlier this year. The glaring contrast between federal and state law is painfully stark as companies make millions on the plant where cannabis is legal. Yet, at the same time, other Americans sit in prison for marijuana-related crimes.


However, supporters of the President point out that, despite his reluctance to use his executive powers to decriminalize marijuana, which is now recreationally legal in 19 states, Biden has granted clemency to over 70 people convicted of cannabis-related crimes. But to many, this is a mere drop in the bucket.


And recent polls continue to bolster the notion that Americans are more than ready for the federal government to take decisive action and end the over century-long ban on marijuana. According to one of those surveys, roughly two-thirds of Americans support legalization, while a Pew Research poll released in June also reveals that nearly nine out of ten African Americans support cannabis legalization of some kind (57% said the drug should be legal for both medical and recreational use, while 28% said it should be permitted only for medical use).


As the midterm elections creep closer, the issue of marijuana legalization once again takes center stage as voters and prominent politicians voice louder and louder support for nationwide affirmation of legalized cannabis.


And if, in fact, the majority rules in the American Democratic system, it will be very telling to see what President Biden decides to do once the results of crucial state marijuana referendums are tallied this November. Moreover, his actions following this important election could have a profound impact not just on the issue of cannabis legalization but on the pivotal 2024 presidential contest as well.