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Biden grants clemency to some with federal cannabis & drug convictions, issues first pardons

President Joe Biden has finally granted clemency to dozens of individuals with non-violent federal drug convictions and commuted the sentences of 75 people who were serving time at home because of the pandemic. He also issued three pardons. (Article Originally Appeared on: Benzinga)

The president's move marks his first clemency action after over a year in the Oval Office.


Most senators still oppose doing a hugely popular thing: legalizing marijuana

cannabis leaf just a herb

The federal government is strikingly out of step with public opinion on cannabis.

Even though a supermajority of Americans say marijuana should be legal for adults and the House has passed a bill to legalize it, major cannabis reform remains unlikely this year.

Why? Because Republicans and a few Democratic senators don’t want to do it.

“Marijuana? I haven’t even thought about marijuana. Jesus Christ, you smoking?” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) asked HuffPost on Tuesday.


Poll: 69 percent of adults support legalizing marijuana, most say it’s less harmful than alcohol

Cannabis Infused Drink


A super-majority of Americans say that the use of marijuana should be made legal for adults, and most respondents agree that it is less harmful to health than drinking alcohol, according to national survey data compiled by the market research firm SSRS.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents – including 78 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Independents, and 54 percent of Republicans – support legalization. When asked whether cannabis ought to be permitted for therapeutic purposes, support rises to 92 percent.


An overview of historical federal cannabis charge statistics (and why they may be declining)

man chart

In 2012, Colorado and Washington made headlines when they became the first two states in the U.S. to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Since then, 18 other states as well as the District of Columbia have followed suit by passing legislation for recreational distribution and consumption.

Classified as a Schedule I drug by the Controlled Substance Act, the same as methamphetamine or cocaine, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. However, as more state lawmakers pass legislation to legalize recreational use, federal cannabis trafficking cases and charges have steadily dropped year-over-year.


Florida’s top democrat suing Biden admin. over rule barring medical cannabis users from buying guns

nra gun protest

The highest ranking Democrat in Florida is taking on the leader of her party—and the country—over weed and guns.

Nikki Fried, the state’s agriculture commissioner and a Democratic candidate for governor,

“Plans to sue the Biden administration Wednesday to try to block a federal rule that prohibits medical marijuana users from buying guns or maintaining concealed-carry permits,” according to NBC News, which obtained a copy of Fried’s lawsuit.

“I’m suing the Biden Administration because people’s rights are being limited. Medical marijuana is legal. Guns are legal,” Fried said in a tweet on Wednesday morning.

“This is about people’s rights and their freedoms to responsibly have both.”


These 3 cannabis bills could spur significant societal change


Legalization offers hope for social justice and it also has financial incentives.

Change drives innovation, and the U.S. is poised for a seismic shift in cannabis legislation with broad implications for social justice and economic health.

Several notable pieces of legislation are currently proposed or working their way through Congress. These include the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA), a bill that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to file in April 2022. CAOA would decriminalize cannabis and support research, public safety, and restorative social justice initiatives. 


Chuck Schumer’s cannabis legalization bill: Back to the drawing board until August


The bill will remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and “help repair our criminal justice system, ensure restorative justice, protect public health, and implement responsible taxes and regulations.”

Democratic senators leading a push to legalize marijuana say they are now on track to introduce legislation in the Senate before the August recess, after initially announcing plans to file a comprehensive reform bill later this month. (Benzinga)


Here’s how many medicare patients use marijuana, even though it’s not covered

older woman

Medicare users are over the age of 65, a demographic that coincides with a lot of medical marijuana users.

A new report shows that Medicare users and medical marijuana patients have a lot in common. According to a survey reported by U.S. News, 1 in every 5 Medicare patients use medical cannabis. Cannabis is not covered by Medicare in any state. The survey, which was conducted on 1,250 Medicare recipients, also found that 23% of them had used cannabis in the past. Out of all recipients, 21% of them use medical cannabis to treat an ailment.


Recreational marijuana access reduces demand for prescription drugs


Legalization of recreational marijuana reduces demand for costly prescription drugs through state Medicaid programs, according to an analysis by a Cornell researcher and a collaborator.

When states legalize marijuana, the volume of prescriptions within the drug classes that align with the medical indications for pain, depression, anxiety, sleep, psychosis and seizures significantly decline, the researchers found.

Shyam Raman, a doctoral student in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, and Indiana University doctoral student Ashley Bradford conducted the research. Their article, “Recreational Cannabis Legalizations Associated with Reductions in Prescription Drug Utilizations Among Medicaid Enrollees,” published April 15 in the journal Health Economics.


African Americans paid the price for the war on marijuana, now they’re fighting to access the billion-dollar legal cannabis industry


The American Civil Liberties (ALCU) estimates that between 2001 and 2010, there were over eight million marijuana arrests across the U.S., and 88 percent of those arrests were for simply having the drug. 

Although marijuana use is almost equal among Blacks and Whites, Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. 

In 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana and since then, 17 more states have followed, with several more considering legislation this year. 

The U.S. legal marijuana industry is projected to earn $43 billion by 2025, according to cannabis industry researcher New Frontier Data, which begs the question: how much of that wealth will African Americans have access to? 


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