Good things are happening! For starters, ahead of the midterms, Biden is taking some steps (although not nearly enough) to change his position on cannabis policy. What’s more, young Americans are taking the labor movement’s message to heart, a new act in California rolls back the harmful effects of criminal records, workers have a new tool in salary negotiations, and researchers have found that embracing basic food waste practices could have major impacts on the climate crisis.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of You Love To See It, available for supporting subscribers below.
Biden (Somewhat) Flips His Script On Cannabis
On Thursday, President Joe Biden — a leading architect of the war on drugs — announced steps his administration will be taking to address the disastrous effects of mass incarceration and mandatory sentencing laws, which have predominantly targeted Black and Brown communities.
After years of shaping mass incarceration policy in the ’80s and ’90s, Biden is now saying, “Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives — for conduct that is legal in many states.”
Specifically, Biden plans to pardon all federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, which would help remove barriers for those with records to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. While the sentiment matters, in reality not a single person is currently in federal prison for “simple marijuana possession,” meaning Biden’s pardons will actually largely benefit people convicted under District of Columbia drug laws. Furthermore, the announcement specifies that the pardons would not apply to convicted “non-citizens.”
On Thursday evening, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted that criminal marijuana records must also be expunged as part of the country’s decriminalization efforts. That’s because expungement would treat marijuana convictions as if they never occurred, and fully remove barriers created by those records.