Biden faces growing pressure to legalize weed

Biden faces growing pressure to legalize weed

Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman is calling on President Joe Biden to decriminalize marijuana before visiting Pennsylvania next week.

“It’s long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana,” Fetterman said in a Monday statement. “The president needs to use his executive authority to begin descheduling marijuana, I would love to see him do this prior to his visit to Pittsburgh.”

Biden is expected to travel to two key midterm swing states next week — Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — to “celebrate Labor Day and the dignity of American workers,” according to a Monday White House advisory. When in Pittsburgh, Biden is set to meet with Fetterman, the Democrats’ pick to beat Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Fetterman is a longtime advocate for cannabis reform and has made legalization a key issue throughout his Senate campaign. On his campaign website, Fetterman pledges to “work to end the war on drugs by fighting to deschedule marijuana, expunge the records of those convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses, and prevent the monopolization of this vibrant new industry” if elected in November.

Biden has previously opposed fully legalizing marijuana, but his position shifted toward decriminalization by the time he became the Democratic party’s nominee for president in 2020. That year, the Democratic party adopted decriminalizing and rescheduling marijuana through executive action as part of its platform. Despite the platform, Biden has yet to take any significant action to reschedule or reform cannabis regulation.

Last month, Marijuana Moment reported that the Biden administration was preparing plans to free people incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes. Speaking to reporters, Biden said that he didn’t believe “anyone should be in prison for the use of marijuana.” He continued: “We’re working on the Crime Bill now.” In April, Biden granted clemency to over 70 people convicted of cannabis-related crimes.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge on Monday asking if the president planned to take any cannabis-related actions.

In his Monday statement, Fetterman said, “I know firsthand what real crime looks like. [Marijuana] does not fit the bill. It’s time to end the hypocrisy on this issue once and for all.”

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