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NORML Activist to Meet with Vice President to Discuss Federal Cannabis Policies

NORML Activist to Meet with Vice President to Discuss Federal Cannabis Policies

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Regional NORML Coordinator Chris Goldstein, along with two other Presidential marijuana pardon recipients, will be attending a discussion this Friday at the White House with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss ongoing efforts by the Biden Administration to reform federal cannabis policies.

Portions of the meeting are scheduled to be livestreamed by the White House.

Goldstein, who has a history of cannabis activism in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, received a Presidential pardon certificate earlier this year. He was federally convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2014 for smoking cannabis during a protest in an outdoor area of Independence Hall National Historic Park in Philadelphia.

“These Presidential pardons are a powerful and meaningful action,” Goldstein said. “They carry a tremendous power of goodwill — not just to those of us who received them, but for the entire country. These pardons are seen by people everywhere as tangible signs of the White House taking action on marijuana policy.”

President Joe Biden issued a pardon proclamation in October 2022 for several thousand Americans with federal convictions for marijuana possession offenses. At that time, he said, “No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.” He recently repeated those sentiments in his State of the Union address.

In December, the President issued another, more expansive pardon proclamation. An online portal for those who wish to apply to receive written pardon certificates is available on the Justice Department website.

Also at Friday’s meeting will be two additional pardon recipients, hip hop artist Fat Joe and Kentucky Gov. Andrew Beshear.

Goldstein says that he intends to use his time with the Vice President to bring further awareness to the Presidential pardon process and to emphasize the need for further federal action, such as descheduling cannabis. (In 2022, the Administration initiated an administrative review of marijuana’s Schedule I status. As part of that review, the Department of Health and Human Services has recommended cannabis be moved to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.)

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“Three of us will discuss the real-world impact of our federal marijuana convictions and the relief provided by these Presidential pardons,” he said. “Thousands of people are still eligible, and this event should help raise awareness for more people to apply.”

He added, “We will help represent tens of millions of Americans who have been arrested for marijuana in nearly a century of prohibition.”

Ahead of the White House meeting, Goldstein and NORML’s Political Director Morgan Fox will be attending meetings with several members of Congress. Goldstein, along with other members of NORML’s staff, will join Live with NORML following Friday’s discussion.

 

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