Joe Biden, President announcedHe announced Thursday that he would pardon every U.S. citizen, lawful resident and person convicted by federal courts of simple cannabis possession. While this is a great news for thousands who were convicted in federal court of simple possession, it does not mean that there aren’t many other federal cannabis offenders.
For example, Biden’s Department of Justice had just prosecuted Jonathan Wall, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Biden is worthy of praise for his pardoning those no longer in prison, but it’s important to keep in mind that he extends that olive branch while insisting on the imprisonment for those who have sold him marijuana for years.
Jason Flores Williams, Wall’s lawyer, told the Associated Press that “it remains deeply troubling.” Reason. We are happy that President Obama has pardoned pot users, but what is really needed is decriminalization/total legalization of cannabis so people such as my clients or those I’ve represented don’t have to spend their precious time in jail for something I can buy just around the corner.
Flores Williams notes that many people are still being accused of cannabis distribution. Today, the gap between distribution and possession was even more severe as people charged with the former will face longer prison sentences than those convicted of assault or rape.
Anatoly, Assistant U.S. attorney for Wall stated that this was not about marijuana possession. It is an investigation into a plot to distribute huge amounts of marijuana throughout the United States. Why are we incarcerating people who assist others in obtaining cannabis access if possession shouldn’t be a crime?
Many consumers now legally buy marijuana, even at brick-and mortar stores that are popping up all over the country. Although legal in some states and cities, it’s still illegal under federal law. Wall is not worse than cannabis-related businesses that are located within a few miles of the White House. Biden also believes Wall should not have been imprisoned in the first instance. Wall now faces minimum of 10 years behind bars after being convicted.
Flores Williams states that Flores Williams “is trying to take the most political expedient in order for this to be accomplished without being fully done.” Federal prohibition of marijuana is a huge mistake. Too many people suffered and now, the penalties for marijuana prohibition are so diverse and inequitable. This gap has only widened as of today.