John Fetterman, who is currently a U.S. Senate candidate wants to hold President Joe Biden accountable for one of his most important campaign promises—cannabis reform.
Fetterman, a big cannabis advocate, claims that if he is elected to the Senate, he will keep pushing for cannabis reform. But before then, he intends to appeal to the president directly at a Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh on September 5, when he marches with the president.
“It’s long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana,” Fetterman said in a press release on Monday. “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 Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support decriminalizing marijuana.”
Fetterman’s campaign spokesman says he is planning to bring up these issues at the parade when they march together. According to their statement, the lieutenant governor “looks forward to talking to the president there about the need to finally decriminalize marijuana.”
Biden so far has not made good on these campaign promises regarding cannabis. He made his first comments on the issue since taking office last month when he was pressed on the issue, and finally spoke out about folks who are incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis crimes. He claimed his administration is “working on” that promise and mentioned a crime bill addressing the issue might be in the works.
Fetterman isn’t the only person pushing Biden in this direct. Six senators—including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ)—sent a letter to Biden in July asking for action to be taken so that clemency could finally come to non-violent federal cannabis prisoners.
The letter claimed that the administration is “harming thousands of Americans, slowing research, and depriving Americans of their ability to use marijuana for medical or other purposes.”
Back in Pennsylvania, current polling puts Fetterman ahead of his Republican opponent, the TV health personality Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz. Both Oz and the Republican National Committee have taken aim at the Democratic nominee over his cannabis and drug policy reform record, despite polling that shows most of Pennsylvania supports Fetterman’s positions on legalization and harm reduction.
Facing off against the more conservative Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania for the Senate spot, and so far, he has been very outspoken about his support of legal cannabis and drug reform. He has commented that he sees the success of cannabis sales in nearby New Jersey and wants the same for his home state of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, he sees that folks from his state and others are still in prison for cannabis.
One of his goals in his role currently is to ensure that many eligible folks get pardons, and he serves on the Board of Pardons in Pennsylvania. He would like to see the courts remove cannabis arrests from records and restore opportunities like housing, student financial aid, and employment.
Fetterman spoke out favorably when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) endorsed marijuana legalization, as well as led a statewide listening tour to talk about cannabis and how the state’s residents feel. He says he is committed to the work needed to “legalize weed for jobs, justice, veterans, farmers and revenue,” according to a fundraising email early this year.
He has also been known for boastful remarks about Pennsylvania cannabis farmers, claiming they can grow better cannabis then people in New Jersey, as a way to light the fire for cannabis reform. In 2020, he also hosted a virtual forum to get advice from legal states about state legalization.
It’s not clear how his message will be received at the parade, but on behalf of the country’s cannabis advocates, we say good luck Fetterman!