Biden’s recent announcement will likely become a game-changer for Latin America, a region that has historically succumbed to Washington’s pressure to adopt a highly punitive approach against illegal drugs.
Sebastian A Cutrona, Associate Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
In one of the major shifts in federal drug policy in decades, the Biden administration announced changes to end the U.S. “failed approach” to marijuana. The President’s recent liberalisation initiative allows thousands of citizens convicted of simple possession under federal law to be pardoned, calling governors to follow his lead with state offenses across the jurisdictions that have not decriminalised marijuana. Biden also directed federal agencies to review the classification of psychoactive substances in a clear attempt to remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, a category that also regulates illegal drugs such as heroin and LSD.
Critics fear, however, that the announcement is too narrow to reverse a highly punitive approach still prevailing at the federal level. The pardon does not contemplate the situation of individuals convicted in states despite local courts prosecute most of the country’s marijuana offenses, especially across the 23 states that have not decriminalized the psychoactive substance.Non-citizens who were not lawfully present in the U.S. at the time of the offense are also excluded from the executive action. Most importantly, the pardons will not protect individuals from facing federal marijuana possession offenses after the date of the presidential proclamation (i.e., October 6).
While there is still skepticism about the domestic impacts of the marijuana pardons, Biden’s recent announcement will likely become a game-changer for Latin America, a region that has historically succumbed to Washington’s pressure to adopt a highly punitive approach against illegal drugs.
Published in: Financial Express
To read the full article, please click here.