FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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COALITION OF MAJOR CANNABIS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS CALLS FOR MN BOARD OF PARDONS TO FOLLOW PRESIDENT BIDEN’S LEAD IN PARDONING CANNABIS OFFENSES
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2022: ‘The MNisReady Coalition is calling on the Minnesota Board of Pardons to take action to pardon offenders convicted of personal possession crimes, including 5th degree controlled substance crimes for the possession of non-plant cannabis products (which are currently a felony in Minnesota) following President Biden’s announcement that he is pardoning all federal marijuana possession offenses.
President Biden’s announcement is a significant step toward remedying the harms of cannabis prohibition at the national level for more than 6,500 Americans caught in the antiquated, failed war on drugs.
As part of his announcement, President Biden urged states to take similar action. In Minnesota, that power is vested with the Board of Pardons which is composed of Governor Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lori Gildea. Pardons require a unanimous vote of the Board.
“In the thousands of conversations I’ve had throughout the state since I began this work nearly a decade ago, one thing is clear and agreed upon by all stakeholders – the criminal penalties for cannabis have done more harm than good for Minnesotans. It is time for the Board of Pardons to take action to rectify the harms of prohibition policies for those living with a criminal record for personal cannabis possession,” says Maren Schroeder, Coalition Director for the MNisReady Coalition and Policy Director for Sensible Change Minnesota.
“Cannabis can be a catalyst for justice,” says Angela Dawson, President of The Great Rise, a member organization of the MNisReady Coalition. “President Biden’s action is a victory for equity. As billions of dollars of wealth are created through cannabis legalization, Minnesota should offer pathways to jobs and entrepreneurship to help heal our state.”
The MNisReady Coalition was founded by Minnesota’s three leading cannabis advocacy groups – Sensible Change Minnesota, Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation, and Minnesota NORML. Its membership consists of non-profit organizations, private industry members, and others who support the full legalization of cannabis in Minnesota.