Special to The Truth
Last week, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) and members of the Congressional Black Caucus issued the following statement on the President’s Executive Action on Marijuana Reform:
“We applaud President Biden for taking these transformative steps to right the historic injustices of the failed War on Drugs by reforming our approach to marijuana criminalization. Possession of marijuana has upended far too many lives and incarcerated Black people at an alarmingly disproportionate rate for activities that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed insurmountable barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities for countless Black and brown Americans,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty.
The following steps are included in the President’s effort to implement marijuana reform:
* First, he is announcing a full and unconditional pardon of all prior federal offenses for simple possession of marijuana by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. This pardon will help thousands with prior convictions seeking housing, employment, benefits, and educational opportunities who are currently ineligible based on federal statutory or regulatory bars on individuals with prior drug convictions.
* Second, the President is urging all Governors to follow his lead and issue pardons for state marijuana possession offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the simple possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.
* Third, the President is asking the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General to begin the administrative process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug, treated the same as heroin and LSD and more strictly than fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs driving our overdose epidemic. Changing how marijuana is scheduled would advance research and facilitate the appropriate medical use of marijuana.
“The criminalization of marijuana has been a glaring racial justice issue in this nation, with Black communities bearing the brunt of this burden. Today’s action by President Biden to remedy the failed approach to marijuana is a crucial step to righting the injustices of our past,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty.
Since its establishment in 1971, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has been committed to using the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the federal government to ensure that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. The Caucus is Chaired by Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. As part of this commitment, the CBC has fought for the past 51 years to empower these citizens and address their legislative concerns.