Cannabis Industry Reacts To President Biden’s Clemency News

By Benzinga Staff Writer, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

With the news polarizing opinions, some say they will wait and see what comes next from the administration.

Justin Strekal, founder of the BOWL PAC and formerly of NORML, said the President could fulfill his campaign promises with a blanket pardon. While much more is needed to meet his commitments, Strekal commended Biden for evolving on cannabis while urging additional action.

“He must continue to do more to adequately address the moment and provide relief to those who have and continue to suffer as a result of the failed drug war,” he said. Seeing Signs Of More To Come Others tell Benzinga that Biden’s efforts mark positive steps in his evolution on the subject. Michael S. Hiller, founder of law firm Hiller, PC, highlighted the simultaneously released plans for a $145 million federal program providing recently released offenders with job training and re-entry planning. The dual release makes Hiller feel like the clemency was a more symbolic effort regarding justice reform.

“While it is always difficult to gauge political motivation, particularly in an election year, I am optimistic that the President recognizes the harsh, punitive, and discriminatory enforcement of our Nation’s drug laws, especially against persons of color,” Hiller said.

Elana Frankel, a self-employed cannabis consultant and creative, used the classic cannabis consumption rule to describe Biden’s efforts: “Start low and go slow.”

Rob Pero, owner of Native American-owned hemp brand Canndigenous, said the decision marks “baby steps” towards Biden’s campaign commitment to reform criminal justice in America. Still, he commends Biden’s steps taken.


“If you look at his 2020 Presidential campaign and promise to reform the criminal justice system, in part by using his pardon and clemency power, I would say he is holding true, at least beginning to, to his word,” Pero said.

In a tweet, Glass House Brands Inc. CEO Kyle Kazan praised the decision while adding that more needs to be done. “I’m hopeful this was a first step towards full pardons,” Kazan tweeted.

Others felt like Biden has come up short on campaign promises.

Jacob Plowden, New York State Director for Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said the industry expected more.


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