Written by: Mikala Lugen | Photo(s) by: Getty Images
Drake, Killer Mike, Deion Sanders, More Join Utah Man In Calling For Cannabis Pardons
A large group of over 150 artists, athletes, producers, lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and reform advocates are joining a Utah prison reform activist in asking to pardon non-violent cannabis offenders.
In a letter sent to the White House addressing President Biden, Weldon Angelos, an up-and-coming rap producer who was previously based in Utah, is teaming up with current hip-hop co-signers Drake, Killer Mike, Ty Dolla $ign, T.I., 2 Chainz, Lil Baby, and more for an unconditional pardon “to all persons subject to federal criminal or civil enforcement on the basis of non-violent marijuana offenses.” Additional co-signers include NFL Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders; professional boxer Badou Jack; NFL player Julio Jones; director and producer Brad Furman; actor Louis Lombardi; South Carolina U.S. Representative Joe Cunningham; Georgia U.S. Representative Kwanza Hall; previous Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Ross C. (Rocky) Anderson, and more.
“Incarcerating marijuana offenders in federal prisons is a misuse of our nation’s resources and grossly hypocritical, given that a clear majority of Americans oppose marijuana prohibition and about half admit to using the drug during their lifetime. It also stands against the arc of history and the principle of federalism: nearly three-quarters of the states have now abandoned the federal government’s blanket criminal ban in favor of safe, regulated legal access to marijuana for adults and/or those with qualifying medical conditions,” the letter states.
The call to pardon non-violent cannabis offenders hits close to home to Angelos, who was arrested for selling marijuana to an undercover officer over a decade ago. Because he had a firearm, Angelos was given a minimum sentence of 55 years in federal prison. After serving 12 years in prison, Angelos was released and pardoned by President Trump on the final day of his presidency. Angelos was among the dozens of people released and pardoned by Trump from marijuana and drug convictions.
“Enough is enough. No one should be locked up in federal prison for marijuana. No one should continue to bear the scarlet letter of a federal conviction for marijuana offenses,” the letter continues on.
The letter goes on to bring to light what President Biden has spoken on relating to criminal justice and cannabis reform in the United States, stating “We know you share our concerns. In November 2019, during a Democratic Primary Debate, you stated: ‘I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period. And I think everyone—anyone who has a record—should be let out of jail, their records expunged, … completely zeroed out.’ On the eve of your election, you reaffirmed “my commitment to you,” the American people, to ‘decriminalize marijuana and automatically expunge prior marijuana convictions.’ You were right then, and you remain right today.”
Read the full letter here. This is an ongoing story.