Fetterman Says Excluding Military From Biden’s Marijuana Pardons Is A ‘Mistake’

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) says it’s a “mistake” that President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardons don’t cover possession offenses under military code, arguing that cannabis should be broadly treated the same as alcohol under federal law.

The senator said during an interview with Ask a Pol’s Matt Laslo this week that cannabis reform is one area where his position departs from the president, as he’d like to see the substance legalized and regulated like alcohol and tobacco products.

While the U.S. Army recently clarified in a branch-wide notice that marijuana possession violations under the military drug code weren’t eligible under the president’s pardons, there wasn’t a new announcement from the White House about it was indicated in the question posed to Fetterman.

In any case, the senator took the opportunity to criticize the limitation.

“I would urge him to reconsider that. I don’t think it’s helpful,” Fetterman said of the president. “If you’re willing to serve our nation in the military, to be penalized by using a substance that is statistically much safer than other legal kinds of things—I don’t really understand the logic, truthfully.”

“I think marijuana—weed is no different than alcohol. Well, the only difference is one’s legal and one isn’t,” he said. “One can ruin your career and another one, you can walk into a store and buy it and drink as much of it as you can and then show up in [the] morning and that’s not going to endanger your career.”

The senator added that the issue “doesn’t, of course, diminish my enthusiasm for Joe Biden, and we’re not going to agree on every single issue, but this doesn’t happen to be one that I do.”

Biden has faced questions over the limitations of his pardon actions, which cover people who’ve violated federal possession offenses, including those that took place on federal property. Advocates would like to see that relief extended further to, for example, include people with non-violent cannabis sale convictions as well as immigrants and people punished for violating military code.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, told Marijuana Moment last week that the pardons should be “extended all the way out, and any unintended or intended consequences of the war on drugs should be dealt with to repair the damage.”

Former Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), however, told Marijuana Moment that he’s been “very pleased” with Biden’s clemency actions, arguing that the president has “taken some pretty, in my opinion, bold steps.”

Fetterman, meanwhile, also said during the new interview that he personally does not use marijuana, despite his longstanding advocacy for legalization and frequent embrace of cannabis culture, including during his time as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor.

“No, no, I really don’t use it,” he said. “But that doesn’t — I don’t use tobacco at all, but that should be legal. I don’t drink very frequently, but it should all be legal. So it’s the same kind of substance that it should be pure, safe and legal, and allowing adults to partake, because that’s their right.”

Asked about the broader drug war, Fetterman said there are “drugs that are dangerous that shouldn’t be in a conversation of legalizing it,” but the current system of criminalization “isn’t working.”

“I’m making it part of a conversation. I think we should be able to do that,” he said.

The senator also led a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last month alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that called on the agency to fully legalize cannabis and answer questions about the agency’s ongoing scheduling review.

Also last month, Fetterman said he doesn’t support Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) call for a crackdown on the nicotine product Zyn because it’s a matter of “freedom and personal choices,” drawing parallels to his reasons for supporting marijuana legalization.

Meanwhile, the senator has complained that his home state of Pennsylvania is “falling behind” other states such as Ohio that are enacting legalization while it remains prohibited for adult use in the Commonwealth.

Marijuana Consumers Have ‘Significantly Decreased Odds’ Of Cognitive Decline, Study Finds

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

 Read More Feedzy 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *