Immediately following yesterday’s unanticipated announcement by President Biden, members of the cannabis industry began issuing statements applauding the three steps initiated by the president, with all expressing their joy and…
The post Industry Reacts to President Biden’s Announcement appeared first on Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news.
Immediately following yesterday’s unanticipated announcement by President Biden, members of the cannabis industry began issuing statements applauding the three steps initiated by the president, with all expressing their joy and appreciation for the release of federal prisoners, and many expressing their hope that these moves signal the president’s willingness to actually make the changes needed to get the cannabis industry on a par with other industries. We are reprinting, in no particular order and with permission, the statements sent to us, and will add new ones as they come. If anyone would like to submit a longer statement or analysis in reaction to yesterday’s announcement, CBE appreciates and will consider all viewpoints on the subject for publication. Please send requests to email@example.com.
Troy Datcher, CEO, The Parent Company
“We applaud President Biden’s historic announcement granting mass pardons to Americans that have been convicted of federal cannabis possession. This is a critical first step towards addressing the wrong of The War on Drugs, which over decades resulted in the disproportionate incarceration of communities of color in America. We encourage Governors across the country to follow President Biden’s lead and pardon those convicted of cannabis possession at the state level, which comprise the vast majority of those convicted of cannabis crimes. We are also highly encouraged that President Biden is initiating a review of the federal scheduling of cannabis.
“Cannabis has the potential to be one of the most powerful economic engines in the United States over the next decade, but only if the punitive measures created by the current policy of federal cannabis prohibition are lifted. We are eager to offer our support to the Administration as they consider the best next steps in the coming months to help reform our federal cannabis laws and address some of the harms caused by the War on Drugs.”
Morgan Paxhia, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Poseidon Investment Management
“Biden’s move today is a real catalyst for the cannabis industry, an event that was unexpected and very welcomed. This is a big step forward for American citizens and the global cannabis industry.
“The US cannabis industry had an historic day today with President Biden’s actions regarding pardoning and asking for a review of cannabis, currently deemed as a schedule 1 drug. Poseidon has been investing in cannabis since 2014 and this is the most significant step forward we have seen. For the first time, we are seeing action from the executive branch, and we believe this step is very significant for further policy progress coming out of the legislative branches. There is still so much opportunity for the cannabis industry’s growth and progress at the Federal level is so important to the continued journey.”
Brady Cobb, cannabis lobbyist, lawyer, and entrepreneur
“I would like to thank and commend President Biden for following through on his campaign pledge to pardon prior federal offenses for marijuana possession. This is a landmark moment for everyone harmed by the unjust policies and tactics of the War on Drugs. Pardoning past prisoners and federal decriminalization are the first steps, but our work is just beginning in terms of achieving full cannabis legalization and seeing the plant removed as schedule 1 substance. I would also like to thank The Drug Policy Alliance, Weldon Angelos, Professor Erik Luna, Former Deputy Attorney General James Cole and everyone else fighting for cannabis and the victims of cannabis prohibition.”
George Mancheril, CEO & Co-Founder of Bespoke Financial
“This is a huge step towards undoing the human cost and damage of the unsuccessful war on drugs but we expect descheduling cannabis to take significantly longer. While this is a big step in the right direction, with November elections so close and Democrats expected to lose control of Congress, we think legislative change will face significant political headwinds and likely require 2 years to be achieved.”
Bryan Murray, Executive Vice President, Government Relations, Acreage Holdings
“This has been a long time coming. I applaud President Biden’s historic move in pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. This decision will chart a new course for so many who have been failed by our country’s policies surrounding the use of cannabis. As the president stated, and for true equality to emerge, now is the time for our states to pardon those in local jails and state prisons, as well as our government to deschedule cannabis as a Schedule I substance. No one should be denied opportunities due to cannabis usage.”
Khari Edwards, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Ayr Wellness
“We are thrilled to see President Biden’s recently announced pardons for Federal cannabis possession, as well as the requests made to states to take action on this issue. This represents a major step in righting the wrongs of the past and amending policies that have negatively impacted so many. Despite cannabis being legal in more than two-thirds of the country, the ‘War on Drugs’ continues to fail our fellow Americans – disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans and disenfranchised communities. We often think of a criminal sentence as only the time spent imprisoned, but even after the sentence, people remain in ‘paper handcuffs,’ as their record follows them around, preventing access to basic necessities like jobs, housing, and healthcare.
“These pardons will remove the paper handcuffs and empower people to have a fresh start, providing new opportunities for them, their families, and their loved ones and healing communities. Ayr is dedicated to being a positive part of this change, and as part of our core values, we seek to assist those who have been most harmed by outdated cannabis policies via our “Changing Legacies” program. We’re grateful to the many community partners we’ve worked with on these efforts and look forward to today’s news allowing us to positively impact even more lives.”
John McLeod, Co-Founder & Head of New Markets, Cloud Cannabis
“As a former caregiver, I have witnessed firsthand how heavily patients rely on the plant to treat their chronic medical conditions and believe safe medical access should be provided without the risk of legal repercussions. People have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition, and it’s high time these people should be able to live their lives without the burden of their past convictions affecting basic human needs like job opportunities, loans, references, and so on. We view Biden’s pardoning as a huge roadblock getting lifted out of the way and we look forward to the continued effort in reaching this new era of fair and safe cannabis access.”
Kassia Graham, Director, Community & Strategy, Cannaclusive
“President Biden’s move to grant pardons to those with low level cannabis federal offenses, and to review scheduling of the plant, is welcome though overdue. It signals the U.S. is moving towards ending cannabis prohibition. However, myself and others won’t be celebrating until we see the pardons and scheduling review in action. And it’s important to note people will still be in jail for cannabis as the pardon doesn’t cover all offenders.”
“This is a major step forward! Now it’s time to truly dive into restorative harm repair and make sure that access to careers in cannabis or any field is possible for all of those who will be pardoned. And while this milestone is indeed a major victory, we still need to educate society around the deeper harms of the War on Drugs when it comes to resources and reparative justice. While this doesn’t cover all offenders – I do think it’s time to expand this beyond low level offenses through the full legalization of the plant. Removing the stigma will still take all of us. And I truly hope this administration will make even more strides when it comes embedding equity into its framework for legalization going forward.”
Matt Darin, CEO, Curaleaf
“President Biden’s executive order is a major step in the right direction for those who have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of cannabis, and for the forward movement of the industry at large. Not only is this a critical piece of criminal justice reform, it is also the first positive movement we have seen from the Biden administration with potential to have major impact on the legal cannabis industry.
“American voters have made clear, repeatedly, that they favor cannabis legislative change. The potential rescheduling of cannabis would have huge implications for 280E tax reform and SAFE banking, both of which would make a significant impact on the industry, particularly for small and social equity businesses.
“With this executive order in action, the passage of SAFE is even more critical, not only for the growth of established players but for social equity applicants to thrive and for independent business owners to compete and operate in a safer, cash-free environment.”
Jigar Patel, Co-Founder & CEO, NorCal Cannabis
“While this is a great first step, I believe more political pressure should be applied, and is needed in order to get President Biden to finally stand on the right side of history. This includes calling on him to immediately reinstate the Obama-era Department of Justice memos and guidance, enabling the Department of Veterans Affairs to write cannabis recommendations and changing the rules at Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Education, so that the rights of patients and consumers who live in areas where cannabis is currently state-legal are protected. The latter doesn’t even require Congress to act. Frankly, it is beyond disappointing that President Biden has not done more to protect some of the most vulnerable veterans, patients, students and disenfranchised Americans, who have been unfairly treated and targeted for decades. While we commend President Biden on catching up with where two-thirds of Americans have been – there is a lot of work yet to be done.”
Mason Tvert, partner, VS Strategies
“The significance of this announcement cannot be overstated. The message behind these pardons is that it was wrong to criminalize people simply for using marijuana. If it was wrong for the federal government to criminalize people for marijuana possession, the next question is whether it is wrong to continue criminalizing people for marijuana possession. This is a question all elected officials will have to consider, and hopefully they’ll arrive at the decision that it’s time to take the next step and end cannabis prohibition entirely. Most Americans recognize that marijuana is a less harmful substance than alcohol, and our nation is slowly but surely starting to treat it that way.
“This development will reverberate around the country and across the globe. For decades, states and other countries have taken their cues on marijuana policy from our federal government, and the head of our federal government is taking the position that people should not have been criminalized for using marijuana.
“The motivation behind this decision is irrelevant because it was the right thing to do. It has been a long time coming, and whether it was politically motivated or not, it is a welcome development. “
Leonard Tannenbaum, CEO, AFC Gamma
“Hopefully this will invigorate a push for a much-needed safe act which has been stuck in congress for years and needs immediate attention from both democrats and republicans”
Joseph Dowling, CEO, CV Sciences
“Our Administration has been slow to pick up its feet and take real action in reviewing its cannabis policy which has harmed thousands of Americans for far too long. Biden’s public statement to pardon all federal offenses of simple marijuana possession is the first significant step towards decriminalization and the possibility of federal legalization. We applaud the President moving in the direction of righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs.”
Robert Beasley, CEO, Fluent
“President Biden has taken a huge step forward in protecting millions of Americans who need access to medicinal cannabis, and I applaud his decision to pardon all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. As we saw during Covid and most recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, cannabis has proven to be an everyday essential for many Americans, and no one should be criminalized for its usage. This historic move will change the lives of so many, and I am hopeful for the future of the industry.”
“We fully support President Biden’s decision to pardon prior federal offenses of simple cannabis possession, his call for states to follow suit, and for the attorney general and health secretary to revisit cannabis’ Schedule I status. The immediate reaction in the public cannabis market is one of excitement — most stocks are up 30-40% today. The biggest market impact will come with cannabis being rescheduled, which would decriminalize cannabis and remove the heavily burdensome 280E tax code. There is a lot more to be done but make no mistake — today’s announcement is undoubtedly one of the most influential moves we have seen in years.”
Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands
“It is incredible news to hear that President Biden is calling for the pardons of prisoners convicted and held on simple federal marijuana possession charges, a move that will impact over 6,500 individuals. This is an important step in full decriminalization and a meaningful way to begin to address the racial disparities around the arrests and convictions of BIPOC people. This is positive news indeed, and we hope momentum is swift to release the people held for an activity that millions of Americans currently have the right to enjoy freely.”
Joe Caltabiano, Founder, JSC Fund; co-founder, Cresco Labs
“It’s a relief to see positive movement from the Biden White House for mass marijuana pardons and a call to review cannabis scheduling. The federal government’s lack of clear guidance on scheduling and the enforcement of 280E has put the cannabis industry in a death spiral. In addition to pardoning prisoners who are locked up for an activity that the majority of Americans now have access to, we as an industry desperately need one simple bill passed: SAFE Banking. If Congress cannot pass SAFE banking by Dec. 31, the government is effectively strangling the industry. You don’t have to dig deep past the daily headlines to find an industry mired in unfair taxation without representation. I’m thankful to hear President Biden call for mass marijuana pardons. Now Congress must find a path forward for SAFE Banking.”
Scott Kenyon, CEO at Würk
“Removing criminal convictions for cannabis possession under federal law as part of a comprehensive marijuana policy has always been an absolute must. Too long have we benefitted from a multi-billion-dollar industry while innocent people have been incarcerated for a plant that has many potential medicinal benefits. President Biden’s stance on negating cannabis injustice is a remarkable step in the right direction and we hope his actions encourage state officials across the nation to follow in his footsteps.”
Erik Altieri, Executive Director, NORML
“Many of the efforts taken and proposed by the President today are long overdue. For nearly two years, NORML has called upon the Administration to fulfill the President’s campaign promise to provide relief to those stigmatized with a low-level cannabis conviction. We are pleased that today President Biden is following through on this pledge and that he is also encouraging governors to take similar steps to ensure that the tens of millions of Americans with state-level convictions for past marijuana crimes can finally move forward with their lives. Since 1965, nearly 29 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana-related violations — for activities that the majority of voters no longer believe ought to be a crime.
“Moving forward, the Administration must work collaboratively with Congressional leadership to repeal America’s failed marijuana criminalization laws. Nearly half of voters now agree that legalizing marijuana ought to be a priority of Congress, and such action can only be taken by descheduling cannabis and repealing it from the US Controlled Substances Act — thereby regulating it in a manner similar to alcohol. Congress should be inspired by the Administration’s actions today to act quickly and send legislation to the President’s desk that would help close this dark chapter of our history.”
Khadijah Tribble, CEO, US Cannabis Council
“President Biden is right: No one should be in jail just for using or possessing cannabis. This executive action will positively impact countless Americans who have been saddled with criminal histories and the unjust suffering and consequences of cannabis prohibition. This is a particularly cathartic moment for Black and brown communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
“We commend the President for making good on his campaign promise to grant pardons to non-violent cannabis offenders. This announcement comes on the heels of the Biden administration appointing the first advisor on cannabis research and regulation at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and further reinforces the fact that it’s just a question of when — not if — cannabis is decriminalized altogether.
“As the nation reckons with the wrongs of the past, it’s also time to look to the future. The Senate should pass the SAFE Banking Act, to help ensure that the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition can safely and gainfully participate in the burgeoning cannabis industry.”
Khari Edwards, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Ayr Wellness
“We are thrilled to see President Biden’s recently announced pardons for Federal cannabis possession, as well as the requests made to states to take action on this issue. This represents a major step in righting the wrongs of the past and amending policies that have negatively impacted so many.
“Despite cannabis being legal in more than two-thirds of the country, the ‘War on Drugs’ continues to fail our fellow Americans – disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans and disenfranchised communities. We often think of a criminal sentence as only the time spent imprisoned, but even after the sentence, people remain in ‘paper handcuffs,’ as their record follows them around, preventing access to basic necessities like jobs, housing, and healthcare. These pardons will remove the paper handcuffs and empower people to have a fresh start, providing new opportunities for them, their families, and their loved ones and healing communities.
“Ayr is dedicated to being a positive part of this change, and as part of our core values, we seek to assist those who have been most harmed by outdated cannabis policies via our “Changing Legacies” program. We’re grateful to the many community partners we’ve worked with on these efforts and look forward to today’s news allowing us to positively impact even more lives. “
Jigar Patel, Co-founder and CEO, NorCal
“While this is a great first step, I believe more political pressure should be applied, and is needed in order to get President Biden to finally stand on the right side of history. This includes calling on him to immediately reinstate the Obama-era Department of Justice memos and guidance, enabling the Department of Veterans Affairs to write cannabis recommendations and changing the rules at Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Education, so that the rights of patients and consumers who live in areas where cannabis is currently state-legal are protected. The latter doesn’t even require Congress to act. Frankly, it is beyond disappointing that President Biden has not done more to protect some of the most vulnerable veterans, patients, students, and disenfranchised Americans, who have been unfairly treated and targeted for decades. While we commend President Biden on catching up with where two-thirds of Americans have been – there is a lot of work yet to be done. “
Luke Anderson, Co-Founder, Cann
“At long last we’re seeing a sign of intelligent life from this administration on bipartisan drug policy reform that is not just morally correct but points toward the inevitable cannabis legalization moment we have been waiting for.”
“We applaud President Biden for today’s announcement that all people federally convicted of marijuana possession are now pardoned. As federal precedent is established, we hope that state officials and leaders follow suit and help enact change that results in pardoning Americans convicted under state law as well. This is an important first step thanks to activists and the legacy community, but it’s only the beginning – we must continue to advocate for the thousands of individuals at the state level and fight for justice for ALL victims of the racist war on ‘drugs.’”
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