Biden Touts Federal Cannabis Pardons At Martin Luther King Jr. Festivities, Promises More Of The Same


As part of Martin Luther King Jr. festivities on Monday, President Joe Biden delivered a keynote speech at the National Action Network’s annual MLK breakfast. Introduced by Reverand Al Sharpton, Biden talked about his administration’s work on civil rights and its ability to improve the lives of Black Americans and others while being fiscally responsible. 

As an example of a campaign promise fulfilled – to provide relief to those who’ve been criminalized over cannabis – Biden referred to his October pardons of some 6,500 federal prisoners convicted of marijuana possession.  

“No one—I’ll say it again—no one should be in federal prison for the mere possession of marijuana. No one,” Biden said. “In addition to that, they should be released from prison and completely pardoned and their entire record expunged so that if they have to ask, ‘Have you ever been [convicted], you can honestly say, ‘No.’” 

Biden’s keynote address came the day after his Sunday visit to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Georgia, where Dr. King had served as pastor throughout the Civil Rights Movement. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. Ronald Reagan finally signed the holiday into law in 1983. 

Biden was invited to speak at the church by its current pastor, Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) whose election victory this past November handed Senate Democrats an outright majority.

Biden’s attendance at Ebenezer Baptist makes him the first-ever sitting president to speak at the predominantly Black congregation.

Photo: Encyclopedia Brittanica


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