“To definitely tackle the inequities triggered by marijuana prohibition, we will have to go further than rescheduling and totally deschedule marijuana as well as pursue comprehensive legal justice reform.”
By Weldon Angelos, Audio Producer and Marijuana Reform Advocate
As someone who experienced their career and particular everyday living derailed by an unjust cannabis conviction, I applaud any measures taken in the direction of rectifying the injustices inflicted upon plenty of people thanks to cannabis prohibition.
In 2004, I was sentenced to 55 a long time in federal prison for marijuana-similar offenses. I was released on May possibly 31, 2016, soon after a federal courtroom granted me a reduction in sentence, and in 2020 I was pardoned by President Donald Trump.
Since I know firsthand the injustices and suffering that stem from marijuana criminalization, I applauded President Joe Biden’s modern marijuana clemencies, despite understanding a lot a lot more could be done.
But I am anxious to listen to that the Biden administration may possibly suggest that cannabis be moved to Plan III of the Managed Substances Act (CSA). If this is accurate, I can say it falls woefully shorter of the meaningful reform our nation needs and the reforms promised by President Biden. As long as marijuana remains wherever in the CSA, it will continue to be federally criminalized in most cases. To rectify the damage inflicted by a long time of misguided policies, we want to ensure no 1 else goes to prison for marijuana and prioritize the launch and restoration of people who have previously experienced the outcomes of an unjust system.
When pretty much every person can agree that marijuana has no organization remaining in Schedule I of the CSA—which implies the federal governing administration does not figure out any health-related gains from marijuana—rescheduling it fails to acknowledge the urgent will need for detailed reform that addresses the disproportionate affect of marijuana prohibition on marginalized communities. The War on Prescription drugs, which has unfairly specific individuals of color, has prompted immeasurable harm to families and communities across The us.
President Biden has continuously acknowledged the unnecessary instructional, work, and housing boundaries that stem from marijuana criminalization as perfectly as racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. Rescheduling cannabis to Plan III does not significantly commence to address the main problems of criminalization, social inequality and systemic racism that have plagued our modern society for much far too lengthy.
To genuinely tackle the inequities triggered by cannabis prohibition, we must go beyond rescheduling and absolutely deschedule cannabis as perfectly as go after comprehensive felony justice reform.
Thousands of people, disproportionately from marginalized communities, languish in prisons across the region on nonviolent cannabis-connected charges. These harsh sentences are a blight on our justice system and have torn families aside. We ought to prioritize restorative justice actions this sort of as clemency for those still incarcerated federally for marijuana offenses, pardons of earlier convictions, expungement of earlier convictions, resentencing of convictions and reinvestment in influenced communities to rectify the enormous damage triggered by criminalization and prohibition.
It is particularly disheartening to witness the contrast involving people who facial area incarceration for cannabis offenses and people who occur from privileged backgrounds. The circumstance of Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, is illustrative of this disparity.
Hunter Biden, like quite a few other folks in privileged positions, has admitted to working with unlawful medications and illegally possessing firearms (a charge I was sent to jail for), however has not faced the exact same implications as those without the need of the exact same rewards. This stark distinction exposes the inherent flaws in our felony justice method, which disproportionately punishes the marginalized and perpetuates cycles of inequality. This is why rescheduling marijuana to Timetable III, without having ending pathways for foreseeable future criminalization that disproportionately impacts disadvantaged people, and without also delivering relief to the handful of thousand individuals in the federal method and the tens of hundreds of people today living as 2nd class citizens simply because of a felony conviction for cannabis, is extremely troubling and problematic.
President Biden promised that he would decriminalize marijuana but he would do the opposite by supporting rescheduling. Rescheduling marijuana as a substitute of descheduling it falls far small of the transformative adjust we have to have.
It is time for bold action, visionary leadership, and a commitment to addressing the root brings about of injustice perpetrated by marijuana prohibition. It is my honest hope that President Biden and his administration will figure out the urgency of this problem and seize this prospect to eventually deschedule cannabis.
The time for 50 percent-steps is around it is time to embrace justice, compassion, and real equality for all.
Weldon Angelos is legal justice reform advocate and founder of The Weldon Job, a non-financial gain firm fully commited to securing aid for individuals who are incarcerated in excess of hashish. He received a presidential pardon for his possess federal cannabis conviction in 2020 immediately after serving 13 several years in jail.
The write-up Biden Have to Aid Fully Descheduling Cannabis To Finally Close Unjust Criminalization, Former Prisoner Says (Op-Ed) appeared first on Cannabis Moment.