Grading the Presidential Candidates on Hashish: Joe Biden

January 9, 2024by Naomi Cramer

Mild readers, as soon as once more we discover ourselves in a Presidential election yr. Be happy to hitch me in tuning out the deluge of reporting and social media as to issues you can’t management within the slightest, and that are principally damaging and discouraging.

Aside from this weblog publish, which I promise shall be nice. In every presidential election cycle, the Canna Regulation Weblog runs a cultured collection of posts grading the candidates as to their positions on hashish. 4 years in the past, Donald Trump was President, which suggests we graded Trump and lots of Democrats. This time, it’s the alternative. We’ll grade President Biden and his Republican challengers, together with Donald Trump. However in the present day we begin with #46, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (Hunter’s dad).

Total Grade: C

“C” is a middling grade, clearly, nevertheless it’s progress for Biden. Final time round, we (one among our regulation clerks) gave him a “D.” He definitely earned it. Biden was the one viable Democratic candidate who opposed hashish legalization in 2020. Within the many years earlier than that, he was solely bass-ackwards on issues, being described by educated individuals as “the architect, in all methods, of the battle on drugs.” Yuck.

Biden’s positions on hashish in the present day

Issues have modified a bit prior to now quadrennium. The President has not pivoted as dramatically as Vice President Harris claims to have executed on marijuana reform, however we’ve seen some progress. Precisely how good or unhealthy Biden has been is a supply of a lot debate. The individuals who argue that Biden is “accountable for probably the most vital marijuana reform in American historical past”, and those that ship him thanks notes, are proper. The individuals who argue that Biden hasn’t executed practically sufficient on marijuana reform are additionally proper. I’m principally one of many latter, appropriate individuals.

Let’s take a fast have a look at what Biden has and hasn’t executed to date.

  1. October 2022 pardons

In October of 2022, Biden pardoned 6,500 individuals beforehand convicted of “easy possession” of marijuana underneath federal regulation. I noticed:

The pardons don’t launch anybody from jail, as nobody was in federal jail for this doubtful crime. Everybody serving time for easy possession of hashish is in state jail for violations of state (and never federal) managed substances legal guidelines.

It’s additionally vital to grasp that practically everybody arrested and prosecuted for federal hashish crimes is nailed for trafficking (i.e., distribution and/or intent to distribute). Biden didn’t pardon any of those individuals, together with the nonviolent traffickers. I’m guessing none of them will ever see a presidential pardon. Their solely hope is thru proposed laws just like the MORE Act or the CAOA, which might make non-violent hashish crimes expungable, robotically or in any other case.

Lastly, the pardon can be only a “pardon.” It doesn’t expunge the underlying convictions at difficulty, or clear anybody’s document. In some ways, the 6,500 pardonees discover themselves in the same spot in the present day as previous to October 5. They’re nonetheless strolling round as convicted criminals of document, and shall be for the foreseeable future.

I stand by the critique.

  1. October 2022 exhortations to state Governors

Concurrent together with his feeble pardons, Biden urged all state Governors to difficulty state-level pardons for state-level hashish crimes. I used to be underwhelmed with that effort too, explaining once more that the pardons weren’t expungements, and that the crimes included easy possession, solely. I additionally wrote:

Quite than direct his consideration at state-level actors, nonetheless, or along with doing so, Biden ought to endorse one of many many federal legislative proposals to deschedule hashish. There are some good ones. See:

Recall that Biden’s VP, Kamala Harris, was Senate sponsor of the MORE Act. That one would deschedule hashish, amongst a number of different provisions. Come on, man!

Biden nonetheless hasn’t come round on federal laws, and it seems that his message to Governors had little impact. Sure, the Oregon governor erased some 47,144 convictions the next month, however that was within the works already. The Idaho governor, alternatively, issued a predictably annoying response to Biden’s request. In all, we haven’t seen a lot motion right here, and nothing one might tie on to Biden’s “comply with me” missive.

  1. October 22 request to Well being and Human Providers (HHS)

That is the large one, and the explanation persons are break up as to Biden’s hashish doings. After Biden requested that HHS overview the scheduling of marijuana underneath federal regulation, the Division really helpful to the drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it ought to reschedule marijuana, all the way down to Schedule III. I analyzed what a transfer to Schedule III would typically imply right here.

The HHS suggestion occurred in late August, 2023. What DEA finally ends up doing right here is way from sure, and issues appear to be shifting fairly slowly. All of that was anticipated: our colleague Shane Pennington, an authority on the sausage-making course of, just lately opined that any standing change most likely gained’t happen till after the autumn elections. What Biden did right here could in the end be useful, however definitely not as useful as doable. Biden handed the buck, placing us on an unsure, circuitous path.

  1. December 2023 pardons and clemency grants

This proclamation got here in over the vacations, most likely to mitigate any controversy. Not that it appears terribly controversial. The December motion pardoned convictions for easy possession and use on federal lands. It appears designed to fill in some gaps from the October 2022 pardons, although it doesn’t lengthen to army convictions, which is odd: affording the identical small grace to army personnel as widespread civilians looks like a no brainer.

Biden individually commuted the sentences of 11 Individuals who had been serving “unduly lengthy sentences” with respect to non-violent offenses associated to different drugs. That one was useful and may have a extra profound influence on the lives of these few people.


Biden has come a great distance on hashish over the many years, even when he hasn’t smoked any weed–as recommended by a major challenger. Nevertheless, the President had an opportunity to do momentous issues with out a lot effort. As a substitute, he has chosen what he most likely thinks is a center path, and easily ignored sure points points just like the scourge of “fuel station weed” from hemp. Total, I don’t suppose Biden’s actions are constant together with his guarantees.

After his October 2022 efforts, I wrote:

On the marketing campaign path, Joe Biden pledged to “decriminalize using hashish and robotically expunge all prior hashish use convictions.” That promise sits moldering proper right here on the “Black America” web page of his web site. Biden has executed nothing. Throughout the first yr of his presidency, it appears probably that 300,000 (or extra) Individuals have been arrested and convicted of straightforward possession of marijuana. Penalties vary from low-level misdemeanors to life imprisonment with out parole in excessive circumstances.

The hyperlink to Biden’s web site web page referenced above is now eliminated: as a substitute you’ll be requested to donate to the 2024 effort in the event you deign to click on by. Be happy to try this in the event you’re positive with half measures hashish, from ongoing criminalization to an administrative scrum which can or could not result in Schedule III.

So I’m sticking with the “C” grade for President Biden. Keep tuned for protection of the opposite get together’s candidates…. Must be enjoyable.

Source link

by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

error: Content is protected !!