Abbott, others challenge Biden’s call to pardon marijuana


(NewsNation) — A number of governors across the country say they won’t follow President Joe Biden’s call to pardon simple marijuana possession crimes at the state level.

Governors in at least four states are opposed to Biden’s proposal, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott. His spokesperson issued a statement Monday expressing his sentiments.

“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 with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals. The Governor of Texas can only pardon individuals who have been through the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles system with a recommendation for pardon,” Renae Eze, Abbott’s spokesperson, said in a statement Monday.

Governor Abbott has spoken previously about possibly reducing marijuana possession charges to a lower misdemeanor. He is also running for re-election this year with a Democratic opponent in Beto O’Rourke who said he would legalize marijuana in the state of Texas if he’s elected.

The governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, also spoke out. On Thursday he released the following statement:

“The President, in his announced policy on marijuana, has waved the flag of surrender in the fight to save lives from drug abuse and has adopted all the talking points of the drug legalizers. The Department of Justice should not issue blanket pardons but each case should be looked at individually. As Governor I have issued hundreds of pardons to those who have been convicted of drug offenses. But in this time of rising crime, there should be a clear record of law-abiding conduct before pardons are issued. 

“In terms of rescheduling marijuana, the president is ignoring the science that is behind the different categories of drugs. While his proposal sounds good, this is a step that has not been taken by the Obama Administration or the Trump Administration. Biden is simply playing election-year politics and sacrificing our national interest to win votes.“

Asa Hutchison

Louisiana Governor (D) John Bel Edwards and Ohio Governor (R) Richard Michael DeWine say they don’t have the authority to issue blanket pardons.

Edwards said he supports it, but has to look into whether it has to go through the state legislature first to grant him the necessary powers.

A spokesperson for Dewine says possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana in the state of Ohio can’t be punished with jail time.

The president’s federal pardons could impact about 65,000 people.

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