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Biden Is Missing a Chance to Legalize Marijuana, Advocates Say

Cannabis reform advocates are voicing their frustration with President Biden’s reluctance to fully legalize marijuana at the federal level, seeing it as a missed chance to appeal to young voters.

Opening Paths for Reform

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The Biden administration has initiated several reform efforts, such as federal pardons for simple possession and the potential reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. 

Yet, these steps have not fully satisfied advocacy groups.

Calls for Decriminalization

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Progressive senators are pushing for the complete removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, arguing that the current proposal to reschedule the drug does not go far enough in addressing overcriminalization and its impact on minority communities.

Advocacy Groups’ Stance

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“Marijuana’s placement in the [Controlled Substances Act] has had a devastating impact on our communities and is increasingly out of step with state law and public opinion,” stated 12 Democratic lawmakers in a letter to the DEA, urging for more substantial reform.

Public Support for Legalization

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A Gallup poll revealed that a record 70% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, with further polling indicating significant backing for federal marijuana reform, including a rescheduling to Schedule III.

The Political Implications

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Marijuana legalization is seen as a crucial issue that could help Biden attract a diverse voter base, including young people and African Americans. 

With the 2024 election potentially hinging on a few key states, advocates believe Biden’s stance on marijuana could be pivotal.

Biden’s Campaign Promise

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During his 2020 campaign, Biden promised, “No one should be in jail because of marijuana. 

As President, I will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions,” a promise advocates feel has not been fully realized.

Incomplete Actions

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The DEA’s pending decision on rescheduling and the limitations of federal pardons on state-level convictions have left advocates calling for more definitive action to fulfill Biden’s promise of reform.

The Importance of Marijuana Reform

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While not the most dominant issue of the 2024 elections, strategists like Hayley Matz Meadvin note that marijuana reform has the potential to impact voter preferences and breakthrough in crucial states significantly.

A Modern President’s Stance

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Substantial action on marijuana reform from Biden could signal to voters his role as a “modern president” in tune with current societal values and the need for comprehensive criminal justice reform.

Coupling with Criminal Justice Reform

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“I would restate how strong this is to couple with criminal justice reform,” said Celinda Lake, emphasizing the potential of a combined approach to resonate strongly with young voters and minority communities.

A Unified Message for Change

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The comprehensive approach to marijuana and criminal justice reform presents a powerful message to young voters, reinforcing Biden’s commitment to modernizing outdated laws and addressing the disproportionate impact on communities of color.

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Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!