Joe Biden is in a pickle, though it might not feel that way - at least for a few moments following Sunday’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which just might resuscitate the President’s Build Back Better plan.
While this sounds somewhat promising, and not to be a Debbie Downer, there are a few nagging issues on Biden's plate, such as Russia, Russia and more Russia and then there's cannabis legalization.
Russia To The Nines
There’s Brittney Griner’s nine-year sentence in a Russian penal colony; Europe facing nine months with little to no Russian heating oil and very little Ukrainian grain to bake bread over their coal fires; ninety (and counting) disparaging remarks from cannabis advocates and a slew of celebs blasting the President over his foot-dragging on cannabis legalization with the word 'hypocrisy' being bandied about and at least 900 reports that fellow Democratic lawmakers are thoroughly dissatisfied with Biden's skittish to non-existent cannabis reform as they know well that legalizing weed on a federal level would help garner support for the upcoming primaries, not to mention the 2024 general election.
As we know, tempus fugit. So, why put off for tomorrow (and being exposed to a clobbering in the Senate) what you can do today with an executive order?
Indeed, Biden in is the unsettling position of having to maintain a tough line with Russia's President Putin while satisfying the deafening calls to free not just Brittney Griner but other U.S. citizens languishing in Russian prisons. And then there are the 40,000 or so Americans doing the same in US jails and prisons for that exact reason: non-violent cannabis possession.
“There’s nothing good here,” said Andrea Schneider, an expert on international conflict resolution at Cardozo School of Law. “No matter what Biden does, he’s going to be criticized — either that we’re giving too much or we’re not working hard enough.”
As Griner’s case stirs up, or is being stirred up by geopolitical tensions reminiscent of the Cold War, it is also the result of that global tension and crafty maneuvering. This seemed clear to many when the 6-foot-9 highly-respected member of the Russian women’s pro basketball team was detained one week before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Griner had come and gone from Russia on a regular basis for the preceding seven years, always treated like the VIP athlete that she is.
On this occasion, February 17, the Russian change of heart (or strategy) must have been drowned out by the sword rattling and Griner, as a person, suddenly gained even more value for the Russians than her already phenomenal skills as an athlete.
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