California State Fair Cannabis Contest Entries Open


Before being elected president, Joe Biden reaffirmed his position that “no one should be in prison for using cannabis” during his 2020 election campaign.

Nearly a year and a half after he took office, those seeking justice for cannabis-related convictions as a $24 billion state legal industry unfolded in 2021 have begun to question whether his comments are n Were just for show – Biden didn’t use his powers of clemency once.

But the president turned a page on April 26 by announcing that he would grant clemency to 78 people. Biden will pardon three people “who have demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation” and strive to be contributing members of society. In addition, it commutes the sentences of 75 people who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offences.

Many of the 75 people Biden plans to pardon would have received lighter sentences had they been charged with the same offenses today, he said at the White House. statement.

“America is a nation of laws and second chances, of redemption and rehabilitation,” Biden said in the statement. “Elected officials on both sides of the aisle, faith leaders, civil rights advocates and law enforcement officials agree that our criminal justice system can and should reflect these core values ​​that enable safer communities and stronger. During Second Chance Month, I use my authority under the Constitution to uphold these values ​​by pardoning and commuting the sentences of my fellow Americans.

Among the three people Biden pardons is Dexter Eugene Jackson, a 52-year-old man from Athens, Georgia, who was convicted in 2002 of using his business to facilitate the distribution of cannabis. Jackson was not personally involved in the trafficking, but allowed distributors to use his pool hall to enable cannabis transactions. He pleaded guilty to the charge and accepted full responsibility, according to the White House report. list of clemency recipients.

Many of the 75 commutations included people incarcerated for possession or distribution of cocaine, some of whom received sentences based on the bipartisan Drug Abuse Control Act 1986, which then US-Sen. Joe Biden co-designed and co-sponsored. The legislation authorized new funding for drug treatment programs and tougher penalties for drug offenses. He cleared both houses of Congress with overwhelming majorities.

After Ronald Reagan signed it, an overlooked provision emerged known as the 100-to-1 disparity. The law required the same minimum five-year prison sentence for crimes involving 5 grams of crack as for those involving 500 grams of powdered cocaine.

But at least eight of the 75 commutations announced by Biden on Tuesday were for cannabis offenses.

Jose Luis Colunga, of Juniata, Neb., was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of cannabis in Tennessee. Colunga was sentenced to 20 years in prison with a 10-year probation sentence in July 2010.

Stacie Demers, of Constable, NY, has been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cannabis, aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute cannabis in New York City. Demers was sentenced to 10 years in prison with a five-year supervised release sentence in 2016.

Carry Le, of Duluth, Georgia, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more cannabis plants in Texas. Le was sentenced to 10 years in prison with a five-year term of supervised release in 2016.

These are just a few of many.

The 75 people are ‘serving lengthy sentences for non-violent drug offences, many of which have been housebound during the COVID pandemic – and many of whom would have received a lesser sentence had they been charged with the same offense today’ today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act,” Biden said.

The 2018 Stage One Act offers eligible inmates the opportunity to earn 10 to 15 days of time credits for every 30 days of successful participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction programs and productive activities, according to the Department of Justice. Largely, the law was an effort by lawmakers to reduce the size of the federal prison population.

Weldon Angelos, once an aspiring musician who dedicated his life to ending cannabis prohibition and mass incarceration across The Weldon ProjectTold Cannabis time last year that the First Step Act was not doing enough.

A presidential pardon recipient, Angelos sold $300 worth of cannabis to a confidential informant three times, a low-level crime that prosecutors used to charge him with 20 different federal crimes. In 2004, when he was just 25, Angelos was convicted on 16 of 20 counts and was sentenced to 55 years in prison without the possibility of early release.

Angelos served 13 years of the mandatory 55-year prison sentence before being released.

“The first step, you know, we call it that because it was just the first step,” he said. CCT. “That was just the first step, and we definitely need the second step, we need the third step. We have to keep pushing. And the momentum for criminal justice reform was kind of kind of calmed down after that. And so, we really have to keep pushing. The First Step Act allowed judges to review these sentences to review them. … But we have to keep going because there are a lot of other provisions that need to be reformed.

In addition to granting clemency to 78 people, Biden also announced his administration is taking new steps to support those reentering society after incarceration.

Those Shares include new collaboration between the justice and labor departments to provide job training; new grants for workforce development programs; greater opportunities to serve in the federal government; expanding access to capital for people with beliefs trying to start a small business; enhanced reintegration services for veterans; and more support for healthcare, housing and educational opportunities.

While today’s announcement marks significant progress, my administration will continue to review clemency applications and propose reforms that advance fairness and justice, provide second chances, and improve well-being. and the safety of all Americans,” Biden said.


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