Celebrity pot summit at White House shows Biden needs cannabis voters

cannabis over the white house rescheduling or descheduling cannabis

The Biden administration is leaning into conversations around weed in the lead-up to the 2024 election, highlighting the importance of cannabis voters. The president made history when he alluded to conversations around rescheduling and pardons during his recent State of the Union address and told attendees at a rally in Wisconsin this week that he’s “taking care” of marijuana reform. 

RELATED: New analysis shows likelihood of rescheduling

To reinforce these sentiments, Vice President Kamala Harris held a closed-door roundtable meeting today with people who were awarded presidential pardons for cannabis under President Biden’s recent proclamations. During the publicized opening portion, Harris assured the group that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was working swiftly on their review of the plant’s Schedule I status. 

“I cannot emphasize enough that they need to get to it as quickly as possible,” Harris said. “And we need to have a resolution based on their findings and their assessment.”

President Biden has vocalized his stance that “no one should be in jail for possessing or consuming marijuana,” something the Vice President echoed in her meeting.

“Nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed. And what we need to do is recognize that far too many people have been sent to jail for simple marijuana possession,” Harris said.

The meeting’s attendees included three recipients of presidential pardons, including activist Chris Goldstein. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a longtime proponent of cannabis reform, and rapper Fat Joe were also in attendance.

“When the Vice President calls me, I stop everything – so I came to hear this out, and I’m sure it’s going to be a very impactful meeting—to hear all your impactful stories,” Fat Joe said as the meeting commenced.

The conversation comes in spite of Harris’ history of enforcing marijuana prohibition and her previous campaigns against legalization during her time as Attorney General of California. The Vice President has seemingly softened her stance on the plant as of late, admitting during the talk that racial disparities have played a detrimental role in criminalization.

“I believe that the promise of America includes equal justice under the law, and for too many, our criminal justice system has failed to live up to that core principle—I say that with full knowledge of how this system has worked, including my experience as a prosecutor,” Harris acknowledged during the meeting.

Despite the Biden administration’s pledge that cannabis reform is coming, it still remains to be seen whether the DEA will take action. But given that cannabis is such a hot-button issue, especially among young voters, the plant will likely be a regular topic of conversation on the campaign trail in the months to come. A recent poll showed that President Biden’s favorability increased thanks to his directive on rescheduling, something the White House will likely lean into as the election season heats up.

Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of GreenState.com. She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter