Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden are butting heads on marijuana policy, reports News Nation.
Biden last week announced he’ll grant pardons to everyone in the U.S. federally convicted of simple possession of marijuana.
And the President asked that governors consider doing the same at the state level. The state level is where the vast majority of pot offenders are convicted.
3 Republican Governors, 1 Dem Say No
So far, we know of at least three GOP Governors who said no.
Abbott’s office said in a statement first reported by Texas NPR that the governor will not take the president’s recommendation. Abbott will not follow Biden’s lead in pardoning Cannabis offenders.
Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine won’t be pardoning anyone, either. Ohio law doesn’t allow the governor to make blanket pardons, a DeWine spokesman said, reports Cleveland.com. And Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson got in a kerfluffle about Biden’s mass marijuana pardon, too. That’s no great surprise, since Hutchinson is a former head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Meanwhile, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he would not follow Biden’s lead, reports Axios. Edwards said he does not “have the authority to do in Louisiana at present, and so we’re going to be looking at it going forward,” per NOLA.com.
Democratic candidate Beto O’ Rourke, who is running against Abbott in the midterms, said he will legalize Cannabis if elected. Stephen Heidt, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Idaho, said he’d make the pardons if he wins, reports KPVI. And North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper pledged to pardon marijuana offenders, and back legalization, reports Marijuana Moment.
It Ain’t Eze
“Texas is not in the habit of taking criminal justice advice from the leader of the defund police party and someone who has overseen a criminal justice system run amuck (sic) with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals, said spokesperson Renae Eze.
Eze went on to say the governor can’t just pardon anyone. She claimed individuals need to be recommended for a pardon by a third party, and there is a process.
This isn’t the first time Abbott and Biden have clashed. Recently Biden slammed Abbott’s political stunt, send buses of legal migrants to Washington, New York and other places to excite the GOP base about the border crisis. The White House called that effort inhumane and a stunt.
After multiple mass shootings in Texas, including the heartwrenching killing in Uvalde where 19 children and two teachers died, the two leaders also disagreed on a way forward for gun control.
President Can’t Pardon State Marijuana Prisoners
As the president made clear, he does not have the authority to pardon every single inmate locked up for marijuana possession, only those in federal custody.
That affects only a few thousand people. That’s why he’s recommending governors around the country follow his lead.
Biden’s decision, though, could still result in “thousands” of pardons and allow offenders a chance at employment, housing and education not previously available due to the offenses.
“Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either,” Biden said.