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Gillibrand praises Biden cannabis pardons, wants more done on drug laws

Gillibrand Cannabis WEB

Last week, President Joe Biden pardoned all people charged with marijuana possession under federal law. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, praises the move, but said the administration should go further.

Gillibrand, speaking at the conference of the New York NAACP, called Biden’s move a good “first step,” but she said that needs to be followed up by de-scheduling cannabis from other controlled substances like heroin and LSD.

"It shouldn't be a scheduled drug,” Gillibrand said. “It is not the same as opium and it's not the same as other scheduled drugs, so that has to change."

Gillibrand also said reconsidering drug laws is an issue of racial justice as well, given historic trends showing that people of color have been disproportionately charged with lower level drug charges.

Gillibrand said she believes legislation hasn’t been brought onto the Senate floor because there isn’t enough bipartisan support to get them passed.

Announced at the same time as the pardons, the president is also directing the Department of Justice to begin examining the possibility of de-scheduling cannabis.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.