Texas’ Greg Abbott won’t follow Biden's call to forgive marijuana offenders | Turn 420
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Texas’ Greg Abbott won’t follow Biden’s call to forgive marijuana offenders



Texas Gov. Greg Abbott won’t consider pardons for low-level marijuana offenders despite President Biden’s call for governors to do so, according to KUT Austin.

Why it matters: President Biden announced last Thursday that he will pardon all previous federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, which would remove a barrier that has blocked some people from employment, housing or educational opportunities.

Driving the news: “Texas is not in the habit of taking criminal justice advice from the leader of the defund police party and someone who has overseen a criminal justice system run amuck with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals,” Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said in a statement Thursday.

  • “The governor of Texas can only pardon individuals who have been through the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles system with a recommendation for pardon,” she said.
  • Abbott’s office did not respond to Axios’ request for comment.

The other side: Democratic candidate Beto O’ Rourke, who is running against Abbott in the midterms, said he would legalize marijuana if elected.

  • Abbott previously teased reducing marijuana possession penalties to a Class C misdemeanor, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The big picture: Biden’s decision could result in “thousands” of pardons and allow offenders a chance at employment, housing and education that wasn’t previously available due to the offenses, Axios’ Jacob Knutson writes.

  • “Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either,” Biden said.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he would not follow Biden’s lead, saying he does not “have the authority to do in Louisiana at present, and so we’re going to be looking at it going forward,” per NOLA.com.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine won’t follow through either since Ohio law does not allow the governor to make blanket pardons, a DeWine spokesman said, per Cleveland.com.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is against the federal mass pardon, too.

Meanwhile, Governors of Colorado, Illinois and Connecticut all praised Biden as their states made similar moves years ago.

Go deeper: Demand for legal weed grows in Texas

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