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Biden’s marijuana promises remain unfulfilled after one year as president.

Unfulfilled marijuana promises

Unfulfilled marijuana promises by Biden’s. Unfulfilled marijuana promises by Biden’s after one year as president online information stonerssurplusshop. Thursday marks the end of president Joe Biden’s first year in office as president of the United States of America and by large his campaign promises on marijuana policy have so far gone unfulfilled. And while certain federal agencies have taken some positive reforms steps, the administration managed to stir controversy over some outwardly hostile actions with respect to cannabis policy.

Unfulfilled marijuana promises
Biden’s marijuana promises remain unfulfilled after one year as president.

Contrary to Biden’s campaign pledges, cannabis has not been federally decriminalized, people remain in federal prison over non-violent marijuana offenses and the plant has yet to be rescheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. Of the cannabis promises that Biden made while running for president, just one has been met so far: the government has continued to let states implement marijuana reform mostly without federal intervention, though ongoing lack of clarity from the administration has caused continuing complications for the industry and consumers.

In one of the more notable positive developments to come out of the Oval Office , however , Biden’s did sign an infrastructure bill last year during his campaign that contains language meant to help promote marijuana research.

While there were numerous successes on the reform front in 2021 those mostly came at the state level, and advocates feel disappointed by the overall White House inaction—especially considering that it was promised to voters ahead of the 2020 election.

It’s not just that there were no meaningful reform actions in Biden’s first year, either. It’s that some of the few actions he did take on marijuana—proposing in his budget to keep blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing cannabis sales and punishing White House staff who were honest about past marijuana use—were setbacks in the movement.

Biden’s himself made a substantive public comment about cannabis policy since entering the OVal office, beside making a quick , dismissive comment to a reporter who asked about clemency for current prisoners. Vice President kamala Harris , for her part , said last year that the Biden’s administration isn’t focused on following through on its marijuana reform pledge because it’s too overwhelmed with responding to coronavirus pandemic.

“The Biden Administration’s failure to live up to campaign statements and, in the case of including a rider preventing D.C. from regulating cannabis in his budget proposal, even backsliding on cannabis is extremely disappointing,” Morgan Fox, the newly installed political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “This inaction on modest cannabis policy reforms over the past year is inexcusable and is a betrayal of the people that put the president in office.”

“The president has an opportunity with cannabis to show initiative and leadership on an issue that enjoys broad bipartisan support,” he said. “Continued inaction on this issue will have negative consequences for his party this year and in 2024.”

Here’s a rundown of what has really happened with marijuana and broader drug policy under the Biden’s administration in its first year as president 2022.

PROMISE MADE , PROMISE NOT KEPT

When he was running for presidential campaigns, Biden’s frustrated advocates by declining to embrace broad marijuana legalization like most of his Democratic primary opponents did at the time. But they were at least encouraged that he voiced support for more modest reforms like federal decriminalization, legalizing medical cannabis, rescheduling and expungements.

We should decriminalized marijuana , He said during a town hall event in October 2020 , adding , I don’t believe anybody should go to prison for drug use. He reiterated the pledge in so man interviews , debates and even tweets as well as in his campaign ad.

Unfulfilled marijuana promises by Biden’s
The Biden’s Harris plan. Decriminalize marijuana use and Expunge prior convictions.

But despite having the authority to unilaterally issue a mass pardon for people with federal cannabis convictions—as advocates and lawmakers have repeatedly pressed him to do—Biden has only ceremonially pardoned turkeys around Thanksgiving since taking office.

Following that ceremony, The New York Post’s Steven Nelson pressed the president on cannabis clemency, asking him if there were plans to pardon “any people in addition to turkeys.” Biden jokingly replied, “you need a pardon?” and didn’t respond to a follow-up question about marijuana prisoners.

The White House has been asked about the issue several times now, but while Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently said that the president has “every intention of using his clemency power” and is “looking at” relief for non-violent drug offenders, no meaningful action has been taken.

While on the campaign trail, Biden also came out in favor of moving marijuana from Schedule I to II under the federal Controlled Substances Act—an incremental move that wouldn’t legalize the plant but could make it easier for researchers to study its risks and benefits.

Psaki said in April that Biden’s clemency promise for people with federal marijuana convictions and said that process would start with modestly rescheduling cannabis. But even if rescheduling could help people with cannabis records (experts say it would not), the administration has so far taken no real steps to accomplish that reform.

While experts say it may not be possible for a president to unilaterally remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, he could encourage agencies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice Department to initiate the rescheduling process.

The lack of clemency action is especially disappointing to advocates who have been lobbying the White House to do something on this issue.

Biden has received about a dozen letters from lawmakers, advocates, celebrities and people impacted by criminalization to do something about the people who remain behind federal bars over cannabis. After months of inaction, some members of Congress like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have even sent follow-up letters demanding a response.

A recently published Congressional Research Service (CRS) report affirmed that the president has it within his power to grant mass pardons for cannabis offenses. It also said that the administration can move to federally legalize cannabis without waiting for lawmakers to act.

To his credit, Biden has so far kept his campaign pledge to continue to let states legalize and regulate marijuana without federal intervention. But advocates had hoped that he would at least push for the reinstatement of Obama-era Justice Department guidance to prosecutors that generally urged them not to interfere with state laws but which President Donald Trump’s first attorney general rescinded.

Without that guidance or any other concrete reform steps, banking challenges and risks remain in the cannabis industry, marijuana businesses are unable to receive tax credits like other legal industries and other hardships resulting from the federal-state policy conflict remain intact for consumers and patients. In effect, Biden has maintained the status quo of uncertainty that has been in place during the Trump administration and last half of the Obama administration.

REFORM AND SETBACKS

Early in 2021, the Biden administration came under fire after it was reported that it had terminated or otherwise punished dozens of staffers who admitted to prior marijuana use as part of their background check process.

Psaki previously attempted to minimize the fallout, without much success, and her office also stressed that nobody was fired for “marijuana usage from years ago,” nor has anyone been terminated “due to casual or infrequent use during the prior 12 months.” However, she’s consistently declined to speak to the extent to which staff have been suspended or placed in a remote work program because they were honest about their history with marijuana on the federal background check form.

As part of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, Biden included a rider that would continue to block Washington, D.C. from using its own tax dollars to legalize adult-use marijuana sales, declining to recommend that existing language barring such activity be eliminated. Democratic lawmakers have moved forward with removing that rider anyways.

After receiving a letter from a congresswoman concerning executive discretion for cannabis consumers, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said it is required to continue denying federally assisted housing to people who use marijuana, even if they’re acting in compliance with state law.

The federal government has generally taken a hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement in states that have chosen to legalize the plant, but it was reported late last year that a federal agency raided a small, home cannabis garden of a medical cannabis patient living on Indian territory in New Mexico. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) raid occurred in September.

Biden’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said last year that it continues to oppose a bill that would require it to conduct clinical trials into the therapeutic potential of marijuana for military veterans. A House committee advanced the legislation in any case. A VA representative told lawmakers that the department is “already dedicating resources and research expertise to study the effects of cannabis on conditions affecting veterans.”

“President Biden has made little progress in supporting drug reform laws at the federal level and in some instances, has even taken us further back,” Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Marijuana Moment.

On broader drug issues, she added that the administration backed a broad scheduling policy for fentanyl-related substances that “will have a devastating impact on the criminal legal system and set a horrific precedent for drug scheduling moving forward.”

“Moreover, President Biden has failed to embrace marijuana legalization even though he claims to support decriminalization of the substance,” Perez said. “As long as marijuana remains on the CSA, people will continue to be policed, arrested, and imprisoned for marijuana activity. This is deeply problematic particularly because this president made bold promises around criminal justice reform and racial justice for which he has not delivered.”

FEDERAL ACTIONS ON MARIJUANA

Biden signed a massive infrastructure bill in November that includes provisions aimed at allowing researchers to study the actual marijuana that consumers are purchasing from state-legal dispensaries instead of having to use only government-grown cannabis. The legislation also encourages states that have enacted legalization laws to educate people about impaired driving.

In his 2022 budget, Biden proposed continuing a spending bill provision that’s been annually renewed by Congress since 2014 to prevent the use of Justice Department funds to interfere in state medical cannabis programs. That was the first time a president has moved to keep that rider.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under Biden has also moved on several occasions to greatly increase legal production quotas for illegal Schedule I drugs like psilocybin, MDMA and DMT.

And several years after first announcing that it would take steps to break the federal marijuana manufacturing monopoly for research, it has finally issued new licenses outside of the University of Mississippi.

Meanwhile, DEA has given hemp businesses that sell delta-8 THC products a boost, with representatives making comments recently signaling that, at the federal level at least, it’s not a controlled substance at this time.

Employment policies related to marijuana have also been shifting within federal agencies under Biden, despite the controversy of his administration’s cannabis-related firings.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said in a memo distributed to agencies last year that admitting to past marijuana use should not automatically disqualify people from being employed in the federal government.

More recently, the director of national intelligence (DNI) said federal employers shouldn’t outright reject security clearance applicants over past use and should use discretion when it comes to those with cannabis investments in their stock portfolios.

FBI quietly updated its hiring policies last year to make it so candidates are only automatically disqualified from joining the agency if they admit to having used marijuana within one year of applying. However, it later revised the policy again to add a stipulation that applicants are ineligible if they’ve used cannabis more than 24 times after turning 18.

In September, The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) proposed a change to the federal drug scheduling system that it hopes will streamline research into Schedule I controlled substances including marijuana and psychedelics such as psilocybin. DEA and NIDA later said that they supports the plan.

While the Biden administration has yet to take a position on policy proposals to authorize safe consumption facilities and a related court challenge against them that are carried over from the Trump administration, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) put out a pair of requests for applications last month for an effort that will provide funding for efforts to investigate how that and other harm reduction policies could help address the drug crisis.

After requesting permission from the White House to conduct the survey of about 20,000 hemp farmers, The U.S.Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service announced in August that the forms are being finalized to be filled out via mail or online.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meanwhile, still hasn’t gotten around to issuing regulations for hemp-derived cannabidiol products, but it announced last year that it plans to use Reddit and other “novel” data sources to gain a better understanding of public health issues surrounding use of CBD and other “emerging” cannabis derivatives like delta-8 THC.

Federal, state and local officials convened for a national conference this month where members discussed and advanced proposals to establish standards for marijuana products that could later be formally adopted into a federal handbook overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

While Biden hasn’t granted mass clemency for people with marijuana convictions, his administration did take a first step toward granting presidential relief to hundreds of people on home confinement for federal drug convictions last year, with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) asking eligible individuals to get the process started by filing out clemency applications.

PRESIDENT BIDEN NOMINEES ON DRUG POLICY

Several of Biden’s pick to lead key agencies have unique drug policy backgrounds. And some of those choices who’ve since been confirmed have been applauded by advocates.

Activists initially weren’t sure what to make of Attorney General Merrick Garland when he was nominated because of his limited record, but they were relieved during his confirmation proceedings to hear that he wasn’t preparing a crackdown on legal cannabis states.

While he’s yet to reinstitute the Obama era guidance offering some level of protection for states that have legalized, he has said on several occasions that DOJ resources shouldn’t be spent going after people operating in compliance with state cannabis laws.

He also hasn’t acted on calls from lawmakers to use his own authority to swiftly end federal cannabis prohibition.

ONDCP Director Rahul Gupta worked as a consultant to Holistic Industries, a multi-state cannabis operator, for nine months in 2020. Prior to his confirmation, Gupta had already caught the attention of reform advocates given his record overseeing the implementation of West Virginia’s medical marijuana program as state health commissioner and chair of a key advisory board. He’s also publicly recognized both the therapeutic and economic potential of cannabis reform.

It was another relief to advocates that the president didn’t pick former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a cofounder of anti-legalization organization Smart Approaches To Marijuana (SAM), for the drug czar job, even after he personally lobbied for the nomination.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta (no relation to Rahul) was also repeatedly pressed on her drug policy views during her confirmation process, particularly where she stands on broad decriminalization. Advocates expressed frustration that she denied having endorsed decriminalization during the hearings despite having done so in past roles at reform organizations.

Former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was picked to lead HHS, and it was welcome news for advocates because he has a considerable record supporting cannabis reform and working to protect California’s legal program from federal interference.

For example, Becerra was one of 21 state attorneys general who sent a letter to congressional leaders in 2019 expressing support for a bipartisan bill to protect state-legal cannabis programs against federal intervention.

In October, Becerra also signaled that the administration would not block the establishment safe injection sites where people could use illicit drugs in a medically supervised environment as a means of curtailing the overdose epidemic—but it will ultimately be up to the Justice Department to follow through. Unfulfilled marijuana promises

As California’s attorney general, Becerra joined counterparts from other states in signing onto an amicus brief supporting a group’s case to set up a harm reduction center. After making supportive remarks about the facilities as HHS secretary, however, a department spokesperson clarified that “HHS does not have a position on supervised consumption sites.”

Biden’s nominee for FDA commissioner has acknowledged the potential medical benefits of marijuana. Robert Califf, who previously served a short stint as the FDA head under the Obama administration, also said that he actually prescribed a cannabinoid drug as a doctor. He’s yet to be confirmed, however. Unfulfilled marijuana promises

Tom Vilsack, Biden’s nominee to run USDA who has since been confirmed, gave final approval to a federal rule laying out regulations for the hemp industry in March 2021. He’s widely considered an ally of the hemp industry.

The head of DEA who Biden selected previously described a New Jersey medical marijuana bill as “workable” while serving at the state’s attorney general. Although the former top state prosecutor, Anne Milgram, doesn’t appear to have publicly detailed her personal views on cannabis reform, the limited comments she made over a decade ago signal that, at the very least, she’s open to allowing states to enact their own marijuana policies despite federal prohibition.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently said that that freeing up banks to work with state-legal marijuana businesses would “of course” make the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) job of collecting taxes easier. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said this month that he’s confident that Biden would support his cannabis banking bill if it arrived on his desk in part because of the conversations he’s had with Yellen about the issue. Unfulfilled marijuana promises

Adewale Adeyemo, who Biden picked for the role of Treasury deputy secretary, said in February 2021 that he would look into the possibility of updating 2014 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance on marijuana banking.

Isabel Guzman, who was picked and confirmed to lead the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), told senators last year that she would examine marijuana businesses’ inability to receive aid that is available to companies in other industries. She also promised last year to “explore” ways the agency could change its policy on prohibiting people with certain criminal convictions—including over marijuana—from accessing federal business loans and other services. Unfulfilled marijuana promises

It’s also worth noting that the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, has repeatedly made comments on the need for a drug decriminalization model while Biden has been in office, though her tenure predates this presidency.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM PRESIDENT BIDEN IN 2022

Advocates aren’t necessarily holding their breath for a 2022 marijuana reform push from the White House, but they certainly plan to continue to put pressure on the Biden administration in the new year and see opportunities for at least incremental reform.

With respect to federal agencies and their various heads, it seems the infrastructure is in place to continue to advance incremental policy changes that are less punitive and more science-centered with respect to cannabis, psychedelics and broader drug reform.

Toi Hutchinson, former senior advisor on cannabis to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and current CEO and president of the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment that it is unfortunate that states have so far lacked “guidance or participation from the federal government” on the cannabis reform front. Unfulfilled marijuana promises

“States are left to develop and impose their own testing, health and safety rules. Banks are afraid of violating criminal law by serving licensed operators,” she said. “Individuals in one state compete for state licenses to produce and sell cannabis on an industrial scale, where they face arrest, prosecution, and jail in a neighboring state to even possess a single gram of the same substance.”

“Democrats, including President Biden when he was on the campaign trail, have been clear in their support for cannabis reform, and voters listened,” she said. “Whether it’s full legalization in 2022, or simply the ability for cannabis businesses to get a bank or get tax relief, we expect to see cannabis reform because that is exactly what we were told.” Unfulfilled marijuana promises

MARIJUANA MOMENT
MARIJUANA NEWS los ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

California was supposed to clear cannabis conviction. Tens of thousands are still languishing

California was supposed to clear cannabis conviction
California was supposed to clear cannabis conviction

California to clear cannabis conviction online information Stonerssurplusshop.com. California to clear cannabis conviction this year 2022 but tens of thousands are still languishing. On Jan 13 2022 cannabis news was published by KIERA FELDMAN at 5 Am PT concerning California conviction on cannabis. Sara Rodriguez, 39, has a marijuana conviction that’s nearly two decades old. Under state law, her felony should’ve been cleared from her record automatically. But Rodriguez is one of tens of thousands of Californians whose convictions are still languishing.

Nearly two decades ago, on a high desert road in San Bernardino county, Sara Rodriguez was pulled over and arrested with 10 small packets of cannabis in her car. She was later convicted of a felony, possession of drugs for sale and eventually spent more than 2years in prison.

In the years since, Rodriguez, 39, became the first in her family to go to college, and in June graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in social welfare.
But Rodriguez still has a felony on her record — a potential black mark for employers and the state social work licensing board

When California voters legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2016, one promise was the creation of a legal pathway through the courts for clearing many past marijuana-related convictions or reducing them to a lesser charge.

It was a step championed by reform advocates, meant to right many of the injustices inflicted by the nation’s war on drugs that was disproportionately waged on poor people and communities of color.

But despite a low passed on 2018, to speed up and automate the process, tens of thousands of Californians like Rodriguez are still stuck with felonies, misdemeanors and other convictions on their records a Los Angeles Times investigation found.

Additionally, At least 34,000 marijuana records still have not been fully processed by the courts, according to an analysis of data provided by court officials throughout the state. The number was more than twice that in August, before The Times began questioning the slow processing times.

The delays in clearing drug charges can have dire consequences for those seeking employment, professional licensing, housing, loans and in other instances in which background checks are required.

The courts have emerged as the primary bottleneck in a process that has entangled the state Department of Justice and prosecutors’ offices in 58 counties. Although a number of counties have moved aggressively to clear records, many others have moved at a snail’s pace. Some courts — including in Riverside and San Bernardino, where Rodriguez was convicted — haven’t fully processed a single case

Court officials blamed a combination of factors for delays, including COVID-19, staffing shortages, outdated case management systems, old records that require manual review and technical issues.

San Bernardino County Superior Court “was severely impacted by COVID-19 with being partially closed for 75 days, and experienced staffing shortages, illnesses and quarantining, along with severe budget reductions,” spokeswoman Julie Van Hook wrote in an email.

But many advocates see the delays as a continuation of a long pattern of failing to address the disparate impact of drug policies on people of color, especially for Black Californians, who for decades have had the highest arrest rates in the state.

“When it’s an issue that is largely impacting Black people, we move slowly on getting things done,” said Eliana Green, an attorney at the Hood Incubator, which advocates for racial and economic equity in the cannabis industry.

California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, who authored the law to clear criminal records while he served in the state Legislature, acknowledged problems with its implementation.

California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, who authored the legislation to clear felony information whereas he served within the state Legislature, acknowledged issues with its implementation. Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

“It’s not acceptable. It’s taking too long,” Bonta instructed The Times in an interview.

About 117,000 Californians have gotten authorized aid for his or her marijuana convictions, Bonta stated, however the state has confronted important challenges, significantly given the shortage of a centralized statewide information system.

“What a shame!” stated Felicia Carbajal, govt director of the Social Impact Center in Los Angeles. “The community deserves better than the half measures we’re seeing on this.”

Many public defenders and district attorneys shared comparable considerations that the state’s effort lacked the required assets and expertise to succeed. Yolo County Dist. Atty. Jeff Reisig described the court docket report methods in California as “totally screwed up.”

communicate with one another. They barely communicate with DOJ,” Reisig stated. “You have 58 counties in California and each one is like its own state.”

The 2018 legislation — Assembly Bill 1793 — was imagined to clear previous hashish convictions end masse, getting rid of the necessity to file particular person court docket petitions — an onerous course of that few Californians undertook, whether or not for lack of assets or consciousness it was an possibility. The burden was positioned on the state to automate the method of figuring out eligible instances, updating information, and dismissing and sealing a lot of them so they don’t seem on background checks.

The trailblazing legislation was the primary within the nation to supply computerized report clearance for marijuana convictions. At least six different states seemed to California and modeled comparable laws.

“The vision,” stated Bonta, was “that the government should have a primary and central role in delivering the existing rights to people, instead of making them go fight for it and find it and take 10 different steps.”

The justice division dispatched district attorney’s 191,055 potentially eligible marijuana cases for assessment. Their deadline was July 1, 2020, to ship instances to the courts, and most counties complied.

But the legislation didn’t give California’s 58 superior courts a deadline to finish everything as required : updating case information and transmitting them again to the DOJ, which maintains the statewide felony historical past database and responds to background checks.

The Times collected knowledge from greater than three dozen superior courts across the state and located many counties are shifting slowly. Riverside County Superior Court has not absolutely processed any of its 21,000 instances.

Many courts have been at various phases: For instance, Alameda County has processed 58% of instances, and Santa Cruz County 39%. Kern County is at 18%.

Kern County officers cited technical glitches for the delay in getting instances to the DOJ. Santa Cruz officers stated their progress had stalled as a result of the court docket was awaiting a software program repair from their report administration system vendor.

Some counties have fared higher. Pandemic however, Santa Clara completed its 11,500 instances in April 2020. Los Angeles completed processing 66,000 instances in late 2021.

The delays should not because of lack of funding. The courts obtained $16.83 million from the state price range to pay for the prices of processing information, comparable to staffing and growth of knowledge expertise. The Judicial Council of California, which oversees the superior courts, distributed the cash among the many counties, however a consultant stated the company doesn’t monitor how the funds are used or how a lot progress the courts have made.

Rodriguez graduated from UCLA in June with a grasp’s diploma in social welfare. She traveled to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department workplaces to get paperwork for her software to the state social work licensing board. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

The Inland Empire has amongst the bottom clearance charges within the state.

In San Bernardino County, Rodriguez’s felony conviction was one in every of about 5,400 hashish instances that have been primarily gathering mud. After questions from The Times, the court docket started reviewing information on the finish of 2021, however not one of the instances have been accomplished, a consultant confirmed.

Riverside County Superior Court Chief Deputy of Operations Carrie Snuggs pointed to “overall backlogs related to the pandemic,” technical points and insufficient staffing.

Authorities there had completed reviewing a couple of thousand misdemeanors and infractions however all 17,400 felonies remained. And the court docket hadn’t despatched even the misdemeanors and infractions to the DOJ due to an obvious misunderstanding of instructions, The Times discovered. (After questions from The Times, the DOJ stated it was helping the court docket in its first transmission of instances.)

“It’s not a priority. This is something that has been mandated by law and they’re still not doing it,” stated Shaun LeFlore, an organizer in Riverside with the group All of Us or None, which advocates for previously incarcerated individuals. “For those 21,000 people in Riverside or 5,400 people in San Bernardino, they deserve to have their life back.”

When Rodriguez obtained out of jail, “a felony really felt like dream crushing,” she stated. She was turned down for jobs and, if she hadn’t lived along with her mother, in all probability would have been turned down for housing. Many communities in California have “crime-free housing” insurance policies, which regularly stress landlords to exclude tenants with felony backgrounds. And individuals will be denied public housing or Section 8 vouchers for drug convictions.

But Rodriguez discovered a spot in increased schooling and attended Cal Poly Pomona, the place she joined a program referred to as Project Rebound, a assist community for previously incarcerated college students at Cal State faculties. She and her associates within the group helped each other navigate housing and jobs, main her to pursue a graduate diploma at UCLA.

Rodriguez speaks at a mixer for Project Rebound, which helps previously incarcerated college students on Cal State campuses. After spending greater than two years in jail, Rodriguez discovered a spot for herself in increased schooling and went on to obtain a graduate diploma at UCLA. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Yet she apprehensive that her profession might hit roadblocks till her felony conviction was downgraded to a misdemeanor.

“I just feel very overwhelmed and stuck,” Rodriguez stated. “I was under the impression that this would happen automatically, but it’s not.”

Under one other recent state lows , the social work licensing board not less than in idea can’t deny her software primarily based on her conviction alone. But actuality might be a distinct matter, she stated, and a misdemeanor seems to be rather a lot higher than a felony.

Many advocates stated the lag in clearing information hits Black and Latino communities particularly onerous. While nationwide studies show marijuana utilization is roughly the identical amongst white, Black and Latino individuals, in 2015 in California, the marijuana arrest charges for Latinos have been 1.4 occasions increased than white individuals, and Black Californians have been arrested at 3 ½ occasions the speed of white individuals, based on a 2016 report by Drug Policy Alliance. That 12 months, Black individuals have been practically 5 occasions extra possible than white individuals to be arrested for a marijuana felony, the report discovered.

“It creates a permanent underclass. By not purging marijuana records, we’re helping to foster poverty [for Black and brown people],” stated lawyer Vonya Quarles, govt director of Starting Over, which offers providers for previously incarcerated individuals within the Inland Empire and Los Angeles. “The types of jobs that are available to people with felony convictions are not as good as the types of jobs that are available to people without them.”

Under AB1793, which utilized retroactively for marijuana convictions primarily based on possession, sale, cultivation and transportation, prosecutors had quite a lot of discretion: They might problem instances recognized by the DOJ and have been free so as to add extra names to the listing of those that certified for aid. Many prosecutors downgraded felonies to misdemeanors; and the misdemeanors and infractions — which have been now not unlawful underneath Prop 64 — they dismissed and sealed.

Sealing a case signifies that the conviction is wiped from the general public report. In that sense, it’s “cleared.”

In Los Angeles, former Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, dealing with a reform challenger within the November 2020 election, introduced she would petition the court docket to seal all 66,000 marijuana instances.

L.A. County Superior Court accomplished information updating and despatched the majority of its instances to the DOJ in April, a consultant stated. California to clear cannabis convictions

Statewide, the DOJ has but to seal about 10,000 instances, and 4,000 of these convictions are from L.A.

But the DOJ has developed methods to bypass some potential issues, officers stated. For instance, some background checks that undergo the DOJ — comparable to these for public housing and employment — are flagged to expedite sealing marijuana convictions if they seem.

Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender Nick Stewart-Oaten stated the courts, the DOJ and police have but to totally synchronize info. He stated he’s conscious of not less than two instances during which individuals have been jailed and falsely accused of felonies as a result of their marijuana convictions hadn’t been up to date at both the state or native degree.

This fall, Lacey’s successor, George Gascón, announced that his workplace had unearthed a further 58,000 hashish convictions and would petition that they be sealed. California to clear cannabis convictions

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón introduced that he plans to petition that a further 58,000 marijuana convictions be sealed. Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Alameda County, which incorporates Oakland, didn’t ship its first batch of instances to the DOJ till June 2021, court docket officers stated. Only 4,718 court docket information have been up to date and transmitted to date, with 3,438 instances remaining.

Alameda Court Executive Officer Chad Finke stated the court docket has been short-staffed through the pandemic and hiring has been tough. The remaining instances require guide assessment as a lot of them are outdated or not within the court docket’s digital report system, Finke stated. California to clear cannabis convictions

“Meanwhile, those staff that we do have in our Criminal division have other work that they must perform every day to ensure that defendants’ rights are protected, deadlines are met, etc.,” Finke wrote in an e-mail. California to clear cannabis convictions

One of the languishing marijuana instances in Alameda belonged to Justin, who requested to be recognized by his nickname to keep away from questions from his employer.

He was arrested at 18 after he stated cops caught him carrying simply over an oz of weed in a Mason jar. In 2007, he was convicted of felony marijuana possession and sentenced to 3 years of probation.

After probation, the court docket diminished Justin’s felony to a misdemeanor. Until just lately, he had no thought legal guidelines have been on the books that ought to have wiped his report clear. California to clear cannabis convictions

He apprehensive his felony report would get in the best way of securing a visa to work overseas. Eventually, he linked with an lawyer at Oakland-based Root & Rebound, who helped him petition the court docket. The course took about 4 months, and in mid-October, his report was cleared.

“There was a certain disservice being done,” Justin, 33, stated. “Not only was it not automatic, there was never any transparency about the process.” California to clear cannabis convictions

It took San Diego County Superior Court till the top of September — greater than a 12 months and a half — to complete reviewing 35,662 information. Nearly 26,000 of these convictions have been felonies. During the pandemic, creating digital courtrooms, digital submitting and livestreaming hearings “have taken priority and resources,” court docket spokeswoman Julie Myres stated in an e-mail.

But by mid-November, not one of the instances had been despatched to the Department of Justice to replace its felony historical past database, officers stated. Since then, the DOJ stated it assisted San Diego on its first profitable transmission. (San Diego just lately despatched 25,550 instances to the DOJ, officers stated.) California to clear cannabis convictions

San Diego obtained $2.196 million from the state in anticipation of requiring intensive clerical assets for the marijuana information, however the court docket solely spent about $28,000, based on Judicial Council knowledge. The court docket created laptop packages that almost eradicated the necessity for clerks, Myres stated, and the leftover cash shall be returned to the state.

In December, the state Department of Justice despatched out a bulletin imploring prosecutors and courts to hurry up.

“We urge prosecuting agencies and courts to prioritize implementation of the cannabis resentencing process … so Californians can promptly obtain the relief to which they are entitled under the law,” the bulletin stated. California to clear cannabis convictions

Bonta stated his company is reaching out to the courts to supply assets and assist to “make sure there’s clarity on the system.”

“We’re learning from this how better systems can lead … to real on-the-ground impacts for real people,” Bonta stated. “It’s an important lesson and we need to do better.” California to clear cannabis convictions

Rodriguez chats with associates at a latest Project Rebound occasion in Northridge. The program helps previously incarcerated college students see how a lot is feasible of their lives even with felony information, Rodriguez stated. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times).

Meanwhile, Rodriguez just lately contacted the general public defender’s workplace in San Bernardino County to start submitting a petition on her personal. They warned her the method would take six to eight months.

The social work licensing board software had a whole part asking her to elucidate her felony. Knowing the long-ago conviction will nonetheless present up in a compulsory background examine, she drafted a protracted narrative about her marijuana arrest, her jail time, her rehabilitation and the numerous awards and achievements she’s racked up since.

“It’s a lot of work always having to explain myself,” Rodriguez stated. Eventually, she hoped, she wouldn’t should

Oklahoma petition filed to legalize marijuana without medical card

Can cannabis prevent COVID

Oklahoma petition filed to legalize marijuana without medical card information online Stonerssurplusshop. Oklahoma petition filed to legalize marijuana without medical card in 2022. In 2022, Oklahomans could decide whether or not they want the right to buy marijuana without a medical card. … The petition also focuses on removing low-level marijuana convictions. “People go into jail. A second petition last week filed at the capitol.

However, if the petition were to be put on the ballot and passed this year 2022, anyone over 21 years would have been able to buy marijuana. “Oklahomans are ready to move forward with this and we wanted to give them a sensible and responsible way to do that,” said Ryan Kissel, an attorney and petition advocate.

The goal of state question 820 is to legalize recreational marijuana. Advocates said that this would bring even more money to Oklahoma City.

Additionally, Kissel further continued by saying
“We anticipate that it would bring in tens of millions of revenue every year for critical services,” .The petition also focuses seriously on removing low-level marijuana convictions.

“People go into jail. People go into prison. People are dealing with these records that exist on documents that employers are looking at that schools are also looking at. These things can follow people for years, if not decades,” Kissel said.

From all indications, it proofs that this isn’t the only petition that could get in to the ballot. Another similar petition is circulating but the state question 820 differs because it is a statutory change. “Meaning that the legislature, if this passes, the legislature the very next year can make amendments to it. Make changes to it,” Kissel said.

However, there are a couple more hurdles before the group can begin collecting signatures. They surely need more than 100,000 and hope that this question will be on the ballot by fall.

Oklahoma petition filed
Oklahoma petition filed to legalize marijuana without medical card

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