OCA Statement on Biden’s Announcement
The OCA has taken a moment to reflect upon the recent announcement made by the Biden administration regarding cannabis legalization and reform. In a written statement, President Biden laid out the following:
1. He would be pardoning those individuals with stand-alone federal cannabis possession convictions.
2. He is urging Governors of states to do the same for state issued possession charges.
3. He has directed the Attorney General and Health and Human Services to review the way cannabis is currently scheduled.
The OCA is disappointed by this attempt, directly prior to the midterms, to make it appear as though the administration is working towards meaningful cannabis reform. While there are approximately 6500 possession convictions between 1992 and 2021 it is unclear how many of those convicted will actually benefit from this move. Instead of releasing those in federal custody for ALL cannabis related offenses, or issuing an Executive Order de-scheduling cannabis, he essentially did the bare minimum. While the OCA has been working for criminal justice reform since 2014 and supports any movement however incremental to reduce the burden of cannabis convictions, this simply does not go far enough. Or even move the needle. Instead of this kind of performative action meant to lull voters into believing action has been taken, the OCA continues to request that the current administration:
1. Release all federal inmates currently serving time for all non-violent cannabis offenses including manufacture and distribution charges.
2. Announce that he plans to deschedule cannabis prior to leaving the White House and that he will begin building the infrastructure to take this step so, when it happens, it is rolled out smoothly and with a focus on supporting equity, environmental justice, long time cannabis participants and small and legacy operators.
3. Immediately support banking and 280e reform and actively work with Congress to pass legislation that continues to languish.
It is the OCA’s position that until no one is in prison for cannabis, our work is not done. We urge you, as we move rapidly towards the midterms, to think about what each candidate has said about cannabis, on a state, national and local level, and vote accordingly.
Signed, The Oregon Cannabis Association