After Saying Biden Administration Has “Changed Federal Marijuana Policy”, Vice President Kamala Harris Criticized By Advocates

In a campaign video posted earlier this month on the social media platform X, Vice President Kamala Harris said the Biden Administration has “changed federal marijuana policy”. Now, proponents of federal marijuana reform say the administration is “willfully lying to the American public”.

(Photo credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images).

“We changed federal marijuana policy, because nobody should have to go to jail just for smoking weed”, VP Harris said in the video, which was posted on February 9 and currently has over 435,000 views.

Now, the Cannabis Freedom Party (CFP), the “leading political action committee dedicated to cannabis reform”, has expressed “profound disappointment in Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent campaign video touting the administration’s alleged cannabis policy reform at the federal level”, according to a press release.

“On Feb. 9th, her office released a video on the social media platform X stating “we changed federal marijuana policy because nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed.” The administration’s claims can only be classified as a blatant and staggering falsehood”, says the CFP.

“I take no pleasure in saying that the administration is willfully lying to the American public, but that’s exactly what they are doing when they stand up and proclaim they are keeping people from going to jail because of marijuana,” said CFP co-founder Jim Mcmahon. “Yes, in October of 2022, President Biden issued a general pardon for federal offenders with simple possession, but let’s be clear, that pardon and his subsequent pardons let no one out of prison and is not criminal justice reform to keep people from going to jail.”

As we noted on February 10, Harris’ video may have been posted prematurely. Although federal marijuana policy has not yet been changed, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is currently considering a request from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reschedule marijuana to Schedule III, which would legalize the plant nationwide for prescription use. Congressional researchers call the change “likely“. However, if it was simply posted prematurely, this doesn’t explain why the video remains live on 18 days later.

“We call on President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to live up to their administration’s promises and work with Congress to actually implement comprehensive cannabis policy reform”, says said CFP co-founder Kyle Turley. “The time for action is now. Every day of inaction results in more arrests, more lives disrupted, and more opportunities missed in creating a fair and accessible cannabis industry”.

The CFP urges the Biden Administration to prioritize cannabis reform by supporting legislative efforts aimed at rescheduling marijuana at the federal level, going well beyond the handful of expungements of past cannabis convictions, and ensuring that the emerging legal cannabis industry promotes multi-lateral opportunities for those most harmed by cannabis prohibition.

“You can’t claim to have won the game when you’ve never taken the field,” Turley added.

For a look at the three federal marijuana bills most likely to pass the US House and Senate this year, click here. For a look at the five states on track to legalize marijuana in 2024, click here.

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