Biden’s pardons of marijuana for felons step in right direction

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Creative comments image from Pop Sync by Elsa Olofsson

Marijuana got pardons on felons in possession. This is a positive decision for the economy that is clear.

William Cadenhead, Political Cartoonist and Online Editor

President Joe Biden has ordered marijuana drug pardons for all American citizens who have been convicted, arrested, or prosecuted for holding marijuana, at least in small quantities. This one act can improve the economy by sending these felons back into society, it may also lighten the taxes Americans pay.

This drug pardon allows those felons to re-acclimate into society, and make the best of their pardon. The number of offenders who can apply for a pardon is such a small amount compared to the many felons, with other crimes stacked onto possession of marijuana. Felons who were caught buying or selling the drug, forget to apply for a pardon.

Biden’s marijuana pardon covered more than 6,500 American citizens convicted of possession of marijuana, most of those felons can be seen as a demographic that has simple possession of marijuana, as opposed to other crimes.

“I think that can be on a case-to-case basis… but when you look into some of the information such as certain demographics, certain parts of the country are imprisoning them on a higher percentage of crimes than other demographics,” science teacher Bryce Ellefson said.

One thing that we can look at is that it’s changing the political climate of what legalization should be. So I know Denver is one of those states that was one of the first states that legalized it… I know it’s prescribed medically. So I feel like if it’s prescribed medically under certain conditions, then maybe we look into other ways that that could be prescribed to certain people.”

— Jason Caballero

Marijuana can be prescribed medically, and many states have it legalized for recreational use. Marijuana is in a way changing the political climate on how society views marijuana as a drug.

“One thing that we can look at is that it’s changing the political climate of what legalization should be. So I know Denver is one of those states that was one of the first states that legalized it… I know it’s prescribed medically. So I feel like if it’s prescribed medically under certain conditions, then maybe we look into other ways that that could be prescribed to certain people,” Jason Caballero, social studies teacher, said.

Voters legalized marijuana in many of the 50 states whether it be medical which has 37 states using it, or recreational which has 21. Research has shown that marijuana can maybe not be addictive or causes no significant negative effects.

“I think each state should have the capability to view their own circumstances,” Ellefson said.

Felons who held possession of marijuana should make efforts to correct their mistakes. This would cause a shift in society and the economy for the better.

“I think that everyone makes mistakes, and if you’ve corrected your mistake, and you’ve done what you were asked to do, jail time, community service, and whatever it might be. If you have done an effort to make it correct,” Caballero said.

Society will change with these felons re-entering society. These felons can acclimate and provide for themselves and the economy or develop those same bad habits.

“By pardoning individuals who’ve been previously given this letter, or The Scarlet Letter of possession, I think it helps people re-acclimate into society. You want people to be efficient in society, you know, you want them to get a good job and earn things and make better choices. I think on the other side of it, there might be people who abuse the system,” Caballero said.

Just 92 people were sentenced under simple marijuana possession out of the 20,00 convictions in 2017. This shows that not many American citizens can apply for a pardon and get an opportunity, it also wastes tax dollars on upholding prisons keeping those felons, who could have potentially applied for a pardon.

“Look at the number of tax dollars needed to support the number of people that are in prison, when those people could be also working to supply tax dollars, right, … if it’s like, first-time offense, you’ve had some weed on you. And you get arrested, I agree that yes, we should release those people,”  counselor Stephanie Drow said.

Minorities are convicted, arrested, and prosecuted at a higher rate.

“Brown and black people are being arrested for offenses that white people also do, but yet are either getting away with or getting not arrested at the same rate,” Drow said.

Biden’s administration will review whether marijuana should be in the same legal drug category as LSD or heroin. Marijuana has a huge impact on the medical field, so it being in the same category as hard drugs like opium is a drastic statement.

“They’re not legalizing hard drugs, … if you have cancer, if you have mental health issues, marijuana, it’s supporting medicinally,” Drow said.