A new era of cannabis is upon us.
Thursday, October 6, 2022, President Biden announced via Twitter that thousands of Americans would be pardoned. Their crime? Low-level cannabis possession.
We’re encouraged by the President’s comments regarding de-scheduling cannabis & pardoning individuals with minor possession offenses, which add momentum towards ending cannabis prohibition & the failed War on Drugs.George Archos, Founder & CEO of Verano
Possession of cannabis has been federally illegal since the 1970s. While no one is incarcerated for possession under federal law, these cannabis pardons will have wide-reaching effects. Those pardoned can now be granted federal assistance when enrolling in higher education programs, apply for jobs they were once expressly barred from, find housing, apply for unemployment benefits – and much more.
What is perhaps more significant about this announcement though, was President Biden’s call to the states. Most cannabis possession charges occur at the state level; and Biden went beyond federal pardons to implore governors to enact similar measures of forgiveness. Similar mass cannabis pardons at the state level would change countless lives for the better and leave an indelible mark on the cannabis industry. It would help further destigmatize cannabis in the public eye, while driving new talent and diverse perspectives into the ever-growing workforce.
In addition to the federal pardons, President Biden spoke openly about his intent to reconsider the scheduling of cannabis at the federal level. It’s currently a Schedule 1 drug, implying that it has no medicinal value and a high likelihood of dependency. The federal rescheduling of cannabis would signify a seminal moment in redressing the injustices caused by the failed War on Drugs.
While these changes may seem incremental on the surface, they represent a monumental shift in tone surrounding cannabis at the federal level – a potential close to decades of fear-mongering, and a testament to the tireless advocacy of cannabis clemency organizations like Mission Green.