Greg Abbott Rejects Biden’s Plea to Pardon Texans With Marijuana Convictions

A spokesperson for Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott spoke out immediately after President Joe Biden declared last week that he would pardon thousands convicted in the U.S. of simple marijuana charges. Greg Abbott said that he would refuse to issue pardons for his state, despite the president asking governors across America to do so.

Biden announced the pardons Thursday, noting that “too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana.”

“It’s time that we right these wrongs,” he added.

Biden’s action is limited to federal prosecutions, and won’t affect those who have been found guilty of state laws relating to cannabis. President Biden encouraged governors to grant their own pardons to anyone convicted of simple possession.

But shortly after Biden’s announcement, Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze suggested that the Texas governor won’t be issuing pardons, even if the state’s pardoning board recommends that he do so.

State law requires the Board of Pardons and Paroles to vote in favorThe governor may not grant pardons if you recommend them. Eze stated that even so, Abbott would likely refuse such recommendations.

“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,” Eze said in reaction to Biden’s announcement.

Despite Eze’s claims, Biden isn’t in favor of defunding the policeA move that would see police department funds transferred to social spending programs, so that communities could have the resources to address issues at their rootsInstead of relying upon oppressive systems for policing, Far right conservatives are also able to purposefully misrepresentedCash bail reforms during the 2022 midterm races.

This fall, Abbott will be running for a second term in office. His Democratic opponent, former congressman Beto O’Rourke, is in favor of “expung[ing] the records of those arrested for marijuana possession,” according to his campaign page.

O’Rourke also favors legalizing marijuana in the state. His website says that legalizing the drug could result in $1 billion in revenues for Texas, which could be used to reduce “criminal justice costs to invest in public schools and reduce property taxes.”

Recent polls indicate that O’Rourke is currently behind Abbott, but issues relating to cannabis — including legalization or pardons for those with simple possessions on their record — could help the Democrat in the final weeks of the election season, as 55 percent of registered voters in Texas support legalizing marijuanaAccording to a poll done in August, it is most commonly used for recreational purposes.