Biden’s Marijuana Tweet Was His Most Popular Post From State Of The Union, Highlighting Broad Support For Reform

Amid a flurry of social media posts from President Joe Biden’s account recapping his State of the Union address, one stood out as the clear winner in terms of engagement: “No one should be jailed just for using or possessing marijuana.”

With the most likes, shares and views of the night on Thursday, the cannabis post on the official X (formerly Twitter) account of the president seems to support an increasingly obvious political reality: marijuana reform is popular.

Beside Biden, numerous advocates and lawmakers have also jumped on the issue after the president made a historic mention of his cannabis pardons and scheduling review during the high profile annual event.

But the official POTUS account’s marijuana post offers a unique metric, even if unscientific. It’s received thousands more like and shares than posts on other hot-button issues issues that were also highlighted during Biden’s speech.

For example, as of the time of publication:

Marijuana: 77,000 likes
Setting a minimum 25 percent tax for billionaires: 62,000 likes
Border security: 16,000 likes
Gun safety: 9,400 likes
Affordable housing: 7,100 likes
Climate change: 4,900 likes
Early childhood education: 4,800 likes
Healthcare: 4,200 likes
Voting rights: 11,000 likes
Prescription drug affordability: 3,900 likes

That said, the president did again misstate the scope of his administrative actions on marijuana, falsely asserting that he expunged thousands of records when, in fact, a pardon does not clear a person’s record.

The marijuana reform mention itself speaks to the administration’s understanding that the issue is compelling to the public, which was also underscored in a recent poll that showed how Biden’s cannabis moves stand to benefit him in November.

The survey found the president’s favorability spiked after people were made aware of the possibility that cannabis could be rescheduled under the Biden-initiated review.

Multiple lawmakers and advocacy groups have also taken the opportunity to weigh in on marijuana reform in light of the president’s speech.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said in a press release on Thursday that the president’s comments represent “an acknowledgement that cannabis reform is not only inevitable, but wildly popular.”

“The issue helped deliver Biden the White House in 2020 and further progress will do it again in 2024,” he said. “There is more to do as we work to remove marijuana as a Schedule I substance and end the failed federal prohibition.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said the president “is right” that people should be incarcerated over cannabis.

“With marijuana legalized in various states across the nation, no one should be in prison for cannabis-related offenses in 2024,” he said, adding that that’s the reason “we need to pass” his Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act to federally legalize cannabis and expunge prior records.

Nikki Fried, chair of the Florida Democratic Party who previously served as Florida’s agriculture commissioner, also took note of the president historic cannabis remarks.

Meanwhile, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) said that Biden should have used his address to talk about Marc Fogel, an American who has been incarcerated in Russia since 2021 over possession of medical cannabis he was recommended under Pennsylvania law.

Here’s what advocates and stakeholders are saying about the speech: 

Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR)

“Tonight marked a historic moment as the President of the United States addressed cannabis reform in the annual State of the Union address for the first time,” Andrew Freedman, executive director of CPEAR, said in a press release.

“Let’s be clear, it is far past time for Washington’s policymakers to acknowledge states have taken the lead on cannabis policy in the absence of federal action,” he said. “We applaud President Biden’s recent actions, including his pardon proclamation and support for rescheduling cannabis. However, there is still work to be done.”

U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC)

“The US Cannabis Council applauds President Biden for highlighting cannabis reform as an issue of national concern during his State of the Union address,” David Culver, senior vice president of public affairs at USCC, said. “The President has issued historic pardons for nonviolent cannabis offenses and initiated a groundbreaking review of the status of cannabis under federal law. Tonight’s remarks before a national audience signal the President’s ongoing commitment to advancing cannabis reform. We are encouraged by what we heard this evening and optimistic that the Biden Administration will move cannabis down to Schedule III this year.”

American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH)

“Tonight’s remarks by President Joe Biden acknowledging that nobody should go to jail for using or possessing marijuana and recognizing a Cabinet review of the federal classification of marijuana—in his State of the Union address—signals that the time for cannabis reform has finally arrived,” ATACH President Michael Bronstein said. “Reclassifying cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III will be one of the most historic cannabis reforms in US history.”

“We applaud President Biden’s remarks and his administration’s support to reverse decades of failed drug policies which have devastated countless lives,” he said. “Reclassification is in step with today’s science and medical research, public opinion, and goal to get America out of outdated drug laws that have for over decades, hurt marginalized communities.”

Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform (CCSR)

“President Biden made history tonight by addressing cannabis reform during the State of the Union,” Adam Goers, co-chair of CCSR, said. “The President is committed to modernizing the federal government’s approach to cannabis, and he reinforced that commitment tonight in front of the American people. Moving cannabis down to Schedule III would represent an historic shift in our nation’s drug laws. We thank the President for his remarks and urge his Administration to push ahead with rescheduling.”

American Cannabis Collective

“It’s political malpractice to ignore the voters who got him here. Black and brown voters that are most affected by the War on Drugs resuscitated his failing presidential campaign following fourth and fifth place showings in New Hampshire and Iowa four years ago,” Don Murphy, the group’s co-founder, said. “He promised that he would stop sending people to jail for simple possession, but the arrests continue, and he is keeping the War on Drugs alive and well.”

Carl Cameron, another ACC co-founder who previously worked as a Fox News reporter, said “we do not know why he continues to bring up these supposed cannabis pardons, they aren’t real no matter how much they might believe their own rhetoric.”

“Shame on them and shame on those that give them cover, voters know when they have been lied to even when advocates fail to hold them accountable,” he said.

Curaleaf

“It’s a significant moment for the country to hear cannabis rescheduling mentioned during President Biden’s State of the Union speech. This level of public support of cannabis reform at the federal level is long overdue, and demonstrates a strong point of leverage for cannabis politically,” Matt Darin, CEO of Curaleaf, said. “We hope that the DEA will follow President Biden’s lead by rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III this year.”

“Rescheduling would contribute to further de-stigmatization of the plant, and by removing the burden of 280-E, would allow businesses to place further focus on growth and job creation,” he said. “For Curaleaf, removal of 280-E could equate to savings of more than $150MM in excess tax contributions. By reducing the tax burden, cannabis businesses of all sizes will be better positioned to thrive and the true potential of this industry realized.”

Poseidon Investment Management

“Tonight marks the first time a president has acknowledged the need for cannabis reform during The State of the Union address,” Emily Paxhia, managing partner, Poseidon Investment Management, said. “Each year, the President addresses the most salient critical issues of our nation from the famed bully pulpit. The topics addressed in the State of the Union are a barometer for the will of the people and the voters want cannabis reform at an amazing rate of 70 percent per the most recent Gallup Poll. President Biden’s comments tell us that the Executive Branch is listening, we need to see this sentiment reflected through the actions of our branches of government.”

Fact-Check: Biden Falsely Claims His Marijuana Pardons Expunged ‘Thousands Of Convictions’ In State Of The Union Address

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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