Biden weed pardon bluff
Biden weed pardon bluff

Don't Fall for the Biden Weed Pardon Bluff - Its a Big Bunch of Baloney

It made great headlines but President Biden should and could do much more!

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Tuesday Dec 26, 2023

biden weed pardon bluff

Don’t fall for the Biden Bluff – It’s Baloney!


Politics often relies on slick bait-and-switch tactics, flashing token progress to divert attention from broken systems. Rather than uprooting special interests, the playbook tosses scrap concessions that sound big but don’t rock the boat. Joe Biden’s largely symbolic marijuana pardons fit the bill – grabbing good PR while keeping the drug war’s machinery and money flowing.


Though branded as equal justice, Biden’s handful of pardons barely affect real prisoners doing time for plants. Yet he wants credit for righting “failed policies” he helped craft! This head-fake tries to deflate building pressure for full abolition using crumbs to hush critics, not drive reform. It is diplomacy by distraction.


The DOJ itself now admits the drug war fuels racism rather than prevents harm. But mass-pardoning nonviolent cannabis offenders could accelerate the rush to end prohibition, threatening those profiting off societal oppression. Too much money resides in status quo injustice.


So Biden makes a show of pardoning federal possession – which millions legally do in other states – while leaving distribution charges fueling business as usual. He wants applause for pardoning what he once pushed jailing! This “progress” admits sin without forsaking it; reactive tokens promising more bait, no switch.


The classic bait-and-switch stands exposed. Until prisoners walk free en masse, taxpayers still bankroll police states caging minorities and poor for acts richer white suburbanites commit freely. These pardons insult victims by using them as cover for politicians who spearheaded militarized lawmaking. But the public must spot such spin meant to defend the unconscionable present. Full cannabis freedom and amnesty remain the demands until justice sits. The con wears no clothes.


So what happened really?


On October 6th, 2022, the Biden administration announced the president would pardon all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. Biden also highlighted he has used his pardon powers more than any recent president at this stage of office.


Per the statement, "Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs."


The pardon covers about 6,500 people convicted of "simple possession" of marijuana under federal law between 1992 and 2021, as well as thousands more convicted under a Washington D.C. code. It does not cover other charges like possession in a national park or intent to distribute.


The administration explained Biden's position: "Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the use or possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either... I continue to urge governors to do the same with regard to state offenses."


In other words, while framing this policy shift as addressing past harms, Biden also wants the parity extended more universally. Yet he failed to formally reclassify or deschedule marijuana under federal law, which could better enable states to take their own approach without risk of federal interference.


Critics quickly called out Biden's past legislative history supporting tough drug crime policies as a Senator in the 1980s and 90s which greatly expanded mass incarceration. NAACP President Derrick Johnson responded, “The executive branch cannot correct this mistake alone... Congress must immediately take legislative action on marijuana reform.”


Over 70% of Americans support fully legalizing marijuana according to 2021 polls – including majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans. 18 states plus Washington DC have ended prohibition for adult recreational use, with 37 allowing medical access.


So while Biden's pardons apply to only several thousand prisoners, the shift indicates growing recognition of public consensus against criminalizing cannabis at a federal level. However when it comes to actually changing the underlying legal status of marijuana itself, his administration continues defending the status quo policy for now.


A History of lies


Biden’s legislative history reveals tremendous hypocrisy around embracing drug criminalization for political points then expecting applause for piecemeal reforms too little, too late. His career helped birth the carceral disaster now ravaging millions – a moral stain no pardons erase without complete abolition of the system homegrown under his tutelage.


See, long before rallying behind Reagan’s “War on Drugs,” Senator Biden utilized frequent talk show appearances in the 1970s to stoke public fears around narcotics based on false anecdotes. He fabricated a lie about his wife being hit by a drunk driver to push stricter policies and gain empathy with the public.  He later had to withdraw a presidential campaign for plagiarizing speeches unvetted.


This lifelong pattern culminated in the disastrous 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act cementing mass incarceration. Beyond expanding death sentences and deportations, it offered states money to build more prisons on condition longer mandatory minimum sentences accompanied them. It banned social welfare for minor drug offenses while terrorizing communities via street militarization.


These policies Biden championed deliberately targeted nonviolent minority substance users to seem “tough on crime” for white middle class voters during the Crack Era’s racially charged drug panics. Political posturing won at the cost of millions jailed, killed and trafficked by empowered cartels thriving off prohibition. Families suffered generational devastation while Biden boosted his career branding their loved ones “predators.”


Now with 90% wanting cannabis freedom alongside thriving state markets proving regulations’ feasibility, Team Biden tests the winds aiming to seem progressive without actually advancing progress. The unilateral pardons affect virtually none serving time currently. And they require no accountability from architects of immoral laws like the '94 Act still terrorizing marginalized groups using other substances.


These pardons ultimately insult victims of reactionary policies Biden spearheaded for personal ambitions. They expect applause for pardoning what he helped criminalize to start! It rings as reactive political theater aware most citizens now recognize cannabis prohibition’s wholesale failure. But it avoids owning complicity to instead grant meager concessions hoping to silence righteous critics. Such performance remains far too little and very late.


The Sticky Bottom Line


Gestures like mass pardons aim to silence critics rather than enact authentic change. Politicians want credit for dismantling an atom of the distressing machinery they helped construct. It expects congratulations for righting microscopic wrongs while leviathan injustices persist by design under different branding. But we must avoid pacification to keep demanding reform.


That is not to dismiss the positive impacts even limited pardons bring for some lives. Any relief shortening unjust sentences carries value, seeding ripples of healing for individuals, families and networks affected by convictions under misguided laws. And symbolically it signals winds of change stirring previously unquestioned policies, acknowledging public evolution outpacing lawmakers.


But when political institutions expect lavish praise for baby steps to redress generations-long atrocities they engineered, it insults collective dignity and intelligence. These people directly fueled the crisis; they deserve no medals for woefully inadequate responses attempting to recover legitimacy and votes. To thank midwife arsonists for miniscule sprinklers misses the full depravity.


True leadership calls for owning complicity in humanitarian disasters then doing everything possible to empower survivors - not mere public relations. That means acknowledging cannabis prohibition sprung from racist roots in propaganda and continues disproportionate targeting of disadvantaged groups lacking resources to evade its violence. It requires not just pardoning users but overturning the corrupt laws. Nothing else squares the scale.


Until nonviolent prisoners walk free by the tens of thousands, until the fear lifting over targeted communities sustains hope rather than terror, until trust can bloom in place of generational state-sanctioned trauma, these calculated half-measures should not pacify public pressure but steel spines toward unrelenting demands for authentic reparative justice. The system’s sponsors deserve no acclaim while it persists.


And if this frame seems extreme, reflect on living helpless as foreign armies kidnapped loved ones for arbitrary nonviolent “crimes” classifying innate liberties granted others. Because in truth the drug war theatre deals not in crime or justice but suppressing power’s competition. Even pardons form PR insulation around tyranny by pretending gradual “reform” improves anything substantively. But the violence driving evil relies not on official policies but failure to enforce universal rights consistently across all groups. That change awaits still.


So rather than praise moves aiming to dissipate dissent, we must crystallize shared solidarity around undisputed principles of autonomy, community strength and equal protection transcending lawbooks. The people hold power to guide democracy directly by living those truths without permission slips from broken bureaucracies. And that non-violent moral stand exudes revolutionary potential to restore justice by individual and collective refusal to cooperate with legalized dehumanization as currently designed.





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