WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — They chanted. They held signs. Some smoked pot in order to get President Joe Biden’s attention. A demonstration outside the White House Monday brought student leaders from across the country together. They and others were there with a goal of drawing attention to the fact that Biden’s recent executive action regarding possession of marijuana does nothing to free anyone who currently is serving time for pot offenses.
It sounded promising to many people at the time and seemed to indicate a shift in thinking when it came to marijuana and marijuana laws, but the White House acknowledged that no one was in federal prison only for simple possession of marijuana.
The students said they want Biden to do something they think actually would make a difference for people convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses.
“Biden’s tough on crime policies in the 90s resulted in extreme sentences being handed down for non-violent drug crimes.” Said Jason Ortiz, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He added “Biden promised to release these prisoners to address his role in creating mass incarceration and the cannabis community has a moral obligation to hold his feet to the fire until our friends are reunited with their families.”
Among those joining the students were members of the music industry, including Redman and Kristin Flor of Freedom Grow who lost her father while he was serving time for a cannabis offense. People from other groups also were part of the demonstration.
The group said as a sign of good faith, Biden could release 420 marijuana prisoners by Christmas. (If you don’t know, “4:20 p.m.” is a time associated with using marijuana, which is why the ask to release 420 prisoners is symbolic.)