(Washington, DC) – Today, President Joseph R. Biden announced three steps he is taking to correct our country’s failed approach to jailing millions of Americans for the use and possession of marijuana. The President’s pardons will benefit thousands of DC residents. In response to the President’s announcement, Mayor Muriel Bowser released the following statement:
“We are grateful for President Biden’s leadership in taking on an issue that continues to affect millions of American families and that has disproportionately hurt Black communities. The President’s actions are a significant step forward for our country, and one that better aligns policy with public sentiment.
“In DC, we have made it a priority to build a marijuana regime that is centered on safety, equity, and justice. But we cannot talk about the District and marijuana without underscoring the importance of righting another historic wrong by making Washington, DC the 51st state. While we have made good progress with our medical marijuana program, because of our lack of statehood, we remain limited in our ability to right past wrongs and move forward with an equitable adult-use program. One of those limitations, and a reason President Biden’s pardons are especially important to our community, is that the Mayor of DC lacks the ability to grant pardons or commute sentences – a power that every state’s governor has.
“Until we achieve statehood, Congress must move forward with removing the rider that prohibits DC from following through on the will of DC voters by establishing a safe and equitable adult-use market.”