As the upcoming national presidential campaign heats up, Democratic candidates are fighting to set themselves a part. Underdog Andrew Yang has found himself with a bit of a following and recently announced a promise of sweeping pardons for nonviolent marijuana offenses.
On Friday, Yang spoke to a crowd in Concord, N.H. during an event hosted by the ACLU. During his speech, he told the crowd, “I’m going to mass pardon everyone who is in jail for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. Americans now recognize just how broken our mass incarceration system is and how much progress we need to make.”
During his campaign, Yang has been an outspoken supporter of marijuana legalization and decriminalization on the federal and state levels. According to The Hill, Yang also supports removing marijuana from the controlled substances list and expunging the records of those with federal marijuana convictions for possession and usage.
His speech at Concord was the not the first time, Yang spoke publicly about his plans to produce sweeping changes when it came to marijuana laws. In April, he made headlines when he told attendees of the National Action Network Conference in New York City that he would “legalize marijuana and then I would pardon everyone who’s in jail for a nonviolent drug-related offense. I would pardon them on April 20, 2021 and I would high-five them on the way out of jail.”
Yang has been considered an underdog in the 2020 presidential race from the start having to campaign alongside names like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Now Yang has qualified for the fall debates.
Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic among the Democratic candidates with many showing full support. According to The Hill, Presidential candidate, Gov. Jay Inslee granted official pardons to thousands of Washington residents convicted of low-level possession charges earlier this year. So far, 11 states and the District of Columbia legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, there seems to be hope that more will follow in the near future.