After President Biden announced historic federal action on marijuana, the calls for state governors to act were swift. While not a silver bullet, the president’s move last week is seen by many as a step in the right direction. But some of the most pressing changes require state governors to take action.
Marijuana decriminalization and legalization remain a patchwork of different rules and regulations ranging from 19 states, Washington D.C. and Guam legalizing recreational weed to states with harsh penalties for repeat offenders of even small amounts of the substance. The MORE Act, which would decriminalize marijuana among other things, stalled in the Senate after passing the House.
As the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund explained in an August 2022 policy brief, “There is no doubt that the herculean efforts to instill racism and disinformation into drug policy will not easily be overcome. An equally great effort must be made to remedy these harms.”
Chiraag Baines, White House deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity, spoke with NewsOne about the president’s action on marijuana reform and what it means for the future. Baines noted the president fulfilled a campaign promise to address the nation’s failed approach to marijuana policy through criminalization.
He explains that a presidential pardon is an expression of the president’s forgiveness for a crime committed but…