On Friday, Bill Maher, host of the American TV program “Real Time with Bill Maher,” praised President Joe Biden for granting presidential pardons to those who were imprisoned at the federal level for minor marijuana possession offences. The Wrap quoted Maher as saying that the President made a wise choice because marijuana users also cast ballots.
Maher is a member of the advisory boards of NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, has a medical marijuana card from the state of California, and has been openly using cannabis for more than 20 years. He has also been a vocal advocate for cannabis legislation change.
“This is incredibly clever because a lot of individuals in this country—I don’t know who they are, I don’t know any of them—do smoke marijuana, and they do go to the polls. Although not on the right day, they eventually arrive, Maher said in jest.
He pointed out that, despite the opinion of some that Biden is too old to serve as President, it was he who made this crucial decision.
“Yes. the old president. Joe doesn’t actually know anything about marijuana, so credit to him. He believes that the channel THC is the one that picked the classic films”, Maher joked.
Later in the show, Maher spoke with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was against cannabis decriminalisation while in office.
On Thursday, Biden declared that he had pardoned all Americans with green cards and citizens who had been found guilty of federal marijuana possession charges. (It refers to those who were not accused of having the intent to distribute.) At least 6,000 people could potentially be impacted by this. Additionally, he urged state governors to take the same action for those found guilty at the state level.
He even went so far as to order Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to start the process of examining how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Cannabis has been deemed a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government, which means it was found to have no accepted medicinal use and is dangerously addictive. Cannabis is now considered to be on the same schedule as heroin, unlike fentanyl, which is a schedule II drug.
MAHER ON CANNABIS
Maher made a plea to President Obama in 2015 to excuse those imprisoned for minor marijuana offences, similar to what President Biden just did. He made the case that all of these three past presidents—Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—have admitted to smoking marijuana, as have Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Ted Cruz.
Maher and former Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the legalisation of marijuana in August of this year, during which Maher made a startling statement.
Maher started with a question that had been submitted by the audience, asking why U.S President Joe Biden is not pushing for the legalisation of cannabis on a federal level.
Holder remarked that, in his opinion, legalising cannabis on a federal level is probably something we should do, considering the fact that it would have a significant political advantage and also deal with reality. You are aware that people are using cannabis, and it is being legalised across states. Holder added.
Holder stated that the drug policy of the country needs to just adjust to the reality of cannabis use. He added that Marijuana still being a Schedule 1 drug is just really ridiculous.
I believe that eventually, Republicans will seize control of the issue. John Boehner, for example, currently works for a cannabis company, added Maher. Republicans obviously smoke a lot of marijuana, so it could be one of those freedom-related issues.
Maher stated the Republicans opposed a piece of legislation that the House had enacted because they felt it had too much material regarding equity. When it comes to participation in the legal cannabis sector, he said it makes sense to give preference to individuals who have been adversely affected by the war on drugs. This appears to be a deal-breaker for Republicans, he claimed.
What do you desire, a half-loaf? Is it preferable to have the law enacted or altered if they said, “Okay, no equity,” or is it preferable to stick out for equity? Maher enquired.
In order to deal with our current socioeconomic reality, it is preferable to amend the law, “Holder chimed in. Try being as equitable as possible with it. However, I wouldn’t want to halt the change that I believe is necessary for equity’s sake.
WHAT EXACTLY DO REPUBLICANS WANT
There are probably certain marijuana legalisation issues on which Republicans disagree, but some of them openly favour it provided certain conditions are met.
For instance, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who is regarded as one of the leaders among Republican party legislators in support of withdrawing marijuana from the list of federally prohibited substances, voted against the MORE Act. Why?
“The MORE Act compels South Carolinians and residents of other states to adopt a system that they do not desire. Mace stated that her own measure, The States Reform Act, takes the federal government out of the picture and gives the states more autonomy in contrast.
The States Reform Act, which she introduced alone, was defeated in 12 committees and seven subcommittees without a hearing in November 2021. Ted Cruz, James Lankford, Rick Scott, and other Republican senators explained why they oppose reform in their respective speeches. The Republican party’s popularity is rising in the meantime, despite the opposition, and Rep. Mace and numerous other local Republicans have proposed a bill to legalise marijuana.
Bill Maher is one of the many American citizens who will be thrilled by President Joe Biden’s declaration, as he is a cannabis enthusiast himself. The praise of President Biden’s decision and saying weed smokers also turn up to vote could mean that Maher sees the declaration as a campaign strategy, as it will not only appeal to cannabis smokers but also to the families of those who have been incarcerated due to cannabis-related crimes.
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