WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), a Republican Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the White House announcement regarding cannabis expungement and descheduling efforts:
“With nearly two thirds of Americans in agreement on the need for federal cannabis reform and 76% of Republicans in support of the federal government removing any obstacles if states choose to legalize cannabis, I’m pleased to see the White House begin to seriously engage on the topic.
“Last year, my late colleague and Republican Cannabis Caucus Co-Chair, Don Young, and I called on the President multiple times to reschedule cannabis under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. I applaud the President for listening and rejecting the all-or-nothing approach demanded by so many in his own party.
“I also commend the President’s recognition of the need for state and local level expungement efforts. The bulk of petty, non-violent cannabis convictions take place at the state and local level, so to truly remedy the unjust war on cannabis, we must start there and vacate antiquated offenses that are no longer even considered a crime. More than 14 million cannabis-related records at the state and local level continue to preclude Americans from stable housing and gainful employment – two cornerstones of safe and prosperous communities.
“Republicans have long championed policies that help remove barriers preventing people from achieving their American dream, especially barriers created by the federal government. Incentivizing the expungement of these state and local records and addressing their unjust consequences, is — and can further be — a bipartisan cause. If lawmakers work across the aisle and build on the bipartisan consensus established by the HOPE Act and the PREPARE Act, we can take unprecedented action to transform lives, pave the way for millions of Americans to reach their full potential, and give lawmakers on both sides of the aisle the answers they need to legislate not only a responsible end to prohibition but also a safer future for our communities.
“Today’s announcement from the White House recognizes two truths: that continued and complete federal cannabis prohibition is no longer the will of the American electorate, and that the President knows his party’s all-or-nothing approach to cannabis reform has failed to produce results in Congress.
“The President has acted. Now it’s time for Congress to do the same. Passing bills that simply check the box on this issue won’t get the job done. We need legislation that can establish the bipartisan consensus necessary to become law. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in both chambers to make that a reality and stand ready, willing, and able to work in good faith on this issue with anyone regardless of political affiliation.”