Joe Biden took a step towards marijuana decriminalization last week when he granted a mass pardon to anyone convicted of a federal crime for simple possession of the drug. He also asked governors to take similar steps, and directed his administration to review marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance alongside hard drugs like heroin.
“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” Biden said. “It’s time that we right these wrongs…There are thousands of people who were convicted for marijuana possession who may be denied employment, housing or educational opportunities as a result.”
The action will have a minimal direct impact since there are no Americans in a federal person solely for marijuana possession, but 6,500 people that have federal marijuana convictions will be pardoned. While even many Republicans supported the measure, unsurprisingly, the move didn’t sit well with some on the right: “In the midst of a crime wave and on the brink of a recession, Joe Biden is giving blanket pardons to drug offenders — many of whom pled down from more serious charges,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton said on Twitter. “This is a desperate attempt to distract from failed leadership.”
For a sane reaction to Biden’s move, we phoned up Margo Price. The Nashville-based country singer has her own marijuana line that she’s created in conjunction with Willie Nelson’s company Willie’s Reserve. She’s also an outspoken voice in the marijuana legalization movement, and she writes candidly about her history with cannabis and alcohol in her new memoir Maybe We’ll Make It. Here’s what she had to say.