White House Says Joe Biden Supports Decriminalising Recreational Marijuana
On 4/20, the White House said US President Joe Biden supports the decriminalisation of recreational marijuana.
It comes after widespread criticism of the Biden administration’s ‘out-of-touch’ attitudes towards the drug, even from those in the president’s party pursuing cannabis reform in the Senate.
US laws regarding the use of marijuana have been evolving rapidly, with 17 states and the District of Columbia legalising recreational use. While grinding the White House down is a slow progress, given its past handling of those who used the drug, there appears to be some movement.
At a news briefing yesterday, on ‘weed day’ no less, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was quizzed on Biden’s stance on legalising marijuana.
Psaki said, as per Forbes: ‘The president supports leaving decisions regarding legalisation 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 decriminalising marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records.’
A total of 34 states have legalised marijuana in some form, whether it’s for medical or recreational use. Psaki added: ‘He also supports legalising medicinal marijuana, so that’s his point of view on the issue.’
Psaki also defended the dismissal and sidelining of a number of White House staffers for smoking marijuana, saying more would have been let go under a stricter drugs policy, as well as there being other security issues being raised as mitigating factors.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who earlier pledged to pursue cannabis reform with or without Biden’s support, spoke further on the need for reform during ‘a very unofficial American holiday – 4/20,’ noting the inequality of drug prosecutions levelled at minorities.
He said: ‘The War on Drugs has too often been a war on people, particularly people of colour. It makes no sense – it’s time for change. I believe the time has come to end the federal prohibition on marijuana in this country, and I’m working with Senators [Cory] Booker and [Ron] Wyden to do just that.’
He continued: ‘The doom and gloom predictions when states like Colorado and Oregon went forward and decriminalised and legalised never occurred. In state after state, through ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments, the American people are sending a clear message that they want this policy changed.’
With an overwhelming majority of Americans supporting legal marijuana, Psaki also explained: ‘Of course, we understand the movement that’s happening toward it, I’m speaking for what [Biden’s] position is and what’s long, consistently been his position. He wants to decriminalise but again he’ll look at the research of the positive and negative impacts.’
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