If the recent polls are any indication, it’s looking like John Fetterman (D) has a good chance of beating Dr. Oz (R) to become Pennsylvania’s next Senator. Ahead of President Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh this Labor Day, Fetterman plans to press on the topic of marijuana decriminalization, an issue that has been one of the guiding posts of his campaign.
Fetterman released a statement this past Monday, urging Biden to deschedule marijuana before his visit to Pittsburgh.
“It’s long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana,” said Fetterman. “The president needs to use his executive authority to begin descheduling marijuana, I would love to see him do this prior to his visit to Pittsburgh. This is just common sense and Pennslyvanians overwhelmingly support decriminalizing marijuana.”
Fetterman also posted his sentiments on Twitter, telling Biden that he has “the power to use your executive authority to chart a new course.”
It’s long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana.
Too many lives like Paul’s have been destroyed by misguided policy most Americans want to see reformed. @POTUS you have the power to use your executive authority to chart a new course. https://t.co/pNKxF0SnVq
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) August 29, 2022
In his statement, Fetterman also mentioned that marijuana is not a serious crime. “As mayor of Braddock, I made it my mission to combat serious crime. I know firsthand what real crime looks like. Marijuana does not fit the bill,” he wrote. “It’s time to end the hypocrisy on this issue once and for all.”
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During a press briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about Fetterman’s statements, but she deferred. “When it comes to drugs, the highest priority for the administration is addressing an overdose crisis,” she said. “But at the same time, President Biden believes that there are too many people serving unduly long sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown. That’s why in April, during the Second Chance Month, President Biden announced 17 sentences, commutations, and three pardons, which are more grants of clemency at this point in a presidency than any of his five recent predecessors.”
Fetterman has been a proponent of legal marijuana through his entire run for office. In one of his campaign videos, he explains he was one of the first politicians to voice his support for the drug. “And now five years later, I renew that same call for any number of reasons, but most importantly, for the criminal justice aspect of it,” he said.
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While Biden has previously opposed marijuana, his position has shifted over the years, landing on his campaign pledge to free people who have been incarcerated over marijuana-related offenses. Biden has taken no significant action on the topic of cannabis while in office.