White House Protesters Holding 5-Foot Inflatable Joint Urge Biden To Keep Promise And Release All Cannabis Prisoners

Cannabis activists protested outside of the White House on Monday, urging President Biden to keep on his promise and release people who are in jail over marijuana-related offenses. The action was organized by Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) the Last Prisoner Project (LPP) and DC and Maryland Marijuana Justice (DCMJ/MDMJ).

It is important to note that the event was planned before Biden’s recent move to pardon all prior federal offenses of simple cannabis possession. The action is estimated to benefit some 6,500 Americans, while some 40,000 people who were convicted on a state level remain unaffected unless all state governors listen to Biden’s suggestion and do the same.

Given that the clemency has resulted in no one being released from jail over cannabis crimes even though Biden repeatedly has been saying that nobody should be incarcerated for marijuana was reason enough for the groups to go continue with the protest plans, reported Marijuana Moment.

Activists were holding a giant, 5—foot inflatable joint with “Quit Biden Our Time” written on it, they were holding speeches, and playing Biden’s own remarks supporting marijuana decriminalization over a loudspeaker on repeat.

Zero Is Not Good Enough'

One cannabis advocate, Sarah Noon of Columbia University’s chapter of SSDP was arrested by Secret Service after breaching a White House gate. 

“I’m here today because Biden made a promise to release all cannabis prisoners, and he has fallen short of that promise,” Noon said. “We are civil resisters. ‘Civil’ because we are friends of the government, but we can not cooperate with the unfulfilled promise from the leader of our government.”

Protestants also blocked an entrance to the Old Executive Office Building and then moved to an entrance of the White House then later on to the Democratic National Committee headquarters, where they continued to hold speeches and chants. 

“We are here to say that ‘zero’ is not good enough as far as his promises to our community, to the folks that are currently incarcerated and to the nation that wants to go forward in ending the war on drugs and making sure nobody spends time in prison for cannabis offenses ever again,” SSDP executive director Jason Ortiz said in his speech.

The protest came three days after Biden said he will not pardon those who are in prison for selling cannabis.

“I’m keeping my promise that no one should be in jail for merely using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said. “None. And the records, which hold up people from being able to get jobs and the like, should be totally expunged. Totally expunged.”

“You can’t sell it,” the president continued. “But if it’s just use, you’re completely free.”

Activists Won’t Settle

Cannabis rights activist, an advocate for cannabis reform, and co-founder of Oakland, California cannabis company StateHouse HBORF (previously Harborside) Steve DeAngelo gave a speech in front of some 75 protesters. He asked the crowd what kind of world it is wherein Republican former speaker of the House, John Boehner is earning millions of dollars as a board member of a cannabis company that is selling tons and tons of marijuana, wrote Green Market Report. “And yet we have 2,800 people still in federal prison for doing exactly the same thing except at much smaller scale.”

DeAngelo later told the outlet that he thought the protest was “very historic.”

In conclusion, marijuana activists are refusing to settle with the announced pardons, as the President previously said he supported cannabis decriminalization and records expungement.

According to a 2021 report from Recidiviz, "more than 3,000 individuals are

 currently serving marijuana-related sentences in federal prison." The document also projected that ending federal cannabis prohibition would result in the reduction of the federal prison population by more than 2,800 over five years.

"Your recent executive order, while a great first step, did nothing to address the thousands of federal cannabis prisoners currently incarcerated in federal prison," 16 drug policy reform groups wrote to Biden several days following his pardon announcement. "While your recent executive order will help many, it will not release a single one of the nearly 2,800 federal cannabis prisoners. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis, yet there are thousands of Americans who are serving long-term prison sentences, including some life sentences, in federal facilities for conduct involving amounts of cannabis that are far less than what dispensaries routinely handle on a daily basis."

Biden Claims He’s Helped Many 

In the meantime, as we get closer to midterm elections, Biden continues to insist how he’s “changed the lives of thousands of people,” with these pardons. In a new interview from Sunday, Biden also suggested that people with drug convictions should have access to drug treatment.

OK

Photo: Benzinga Edit; Sources: Suzy Brooks and Clear Cannabis via Unsplash
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Posted In: CannabisNewsPenny StocksMarketsBidenCannabis pardonscannabis reformDCMJJason OrtizJohn BoehnerLast Prisoner ProjectMarijuana MomentMDMJRecidivizSarah NoonSteve DeAngeloStudents for Sensible Drug PolicyWhite House
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