Who stands to gain from Joe Biden’s decision to pardon those convicted of marijuana possession?

The loud declaration by the President of the United States was widely echoed in the media. But it’s not as if from now on every state will be able to have a cigarette and nothing will happen to anyone.

In theory, there should be zero surprise, as Joe Biden famously said during the presidential campaign that no one in the U.S. should be in jail for marijuana. However, the whole issue has a double bottom. During a briefing organized by the White House, journalists were able to learn that between 1992 and 2011, 6,500 people were convicted under federal law; many more are incarcerated under state law and are not covered by the decree. And each US state has its own laws. The most liberal in this regard are: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington – where marijuana can be legally used both medicinally and recreationally. Iowa is the worst – not only is possession for reasons other than medicinal illegal, but growing marijuana is treated as a felony.

But it’s also not as if Joe Biden cheated in the campaign, as he openly announced that he would pardon those convicted under federal law. What’s more, the president also promised to decriminalize marijuana, but the bill was stalled in Congress. And with congressional and partial Senate elections coming up, he’s doing what he can and signing this executive order, which could go into effect momentarily. Biden is thus hoping for more votes for the Democrats. He is not helped by inflation, although analysts predict that while the Republicans will win in the House of Representatives, the Democrats will maintain their advantage in the Senate.

So the decree may benefit Democratic faction politicians headed by Biden. Who else? The producers and sellers of marijuana, of course. Shortly after the President’s declaration, stock market shares of marijuana companies jumped dramatically; Canopy Growth and Tilray Brands saw an increase of nearly 20%. Proponents of full legalization, or at least decriminalization of marijuana, argue that the federal reforms will increase the state’s budget, and users will be confident that they are buying a plant from a reliable source – not a machete from the dealer around the corner.

And finally, the inmates who were pardoned by Biden’s decree. It has been loudly reported that those with criminal pasts are having a doubly hard time in the US today. Although unemployment in the US has dropped to 3.5%, the effects of inflation mean that those without a job are hard pressed to find one, and it’s well known that those with a criminal record are usually at the grey end of the list applying for any job. The President stressed that these are the people more likely to be homeless and socially excluded than citizens with no criminal record.

Yet there is much room for improvement in American drug policy. Biden wants to influence the Department of Health to reclassify the harmfulness of marijuana; hard to believe, but under federal law it is positioned on a par with heroin and fentanyl, even though in as many as 37 states you can buy it legally from a pharmacy. The way out is to decriminalize marijuana – and that’s exactly what the aforementioned document that stalled in Congress was about.

Meanwhile, as many as 68% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use – at least that’s according to a recent Gallup poll. Interestingly – according to the same poll – 16% of those surveyed admit to smoking marijuana regularly, while only 11% admit to smoking cigarettes. Who would have thought it would be legal to buy weed from dispensaries….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Article

The best true crime series on Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video. Top 10 series to watch

Next Article

Meet the new characters from "The Boys": Sister Sage and Firecracker