SM Sen. Jeff Merkley.jpg (copy)

Sen. Jeff Merkley talks about his plans for combating wildfires at the site of the 2020 South Obenchain Fire.

The federal government’s policies toward marijuana seem, if you would pardon the expression, half-baked.

It shouldn’t be hard for legal marijuana businesses to be able to use banks normally. It still is.

If you didn’t like any legalization of marijuana to begin with, maybe you are fine with that. But pot is legal for recreational use in Oregon and in some 17 other states. Legal businesses should be able to use banks without prejudice.

Marijuana businesses have also suffered because they have not been able to deduct expenses like other businesses. Also unfair.

Those issues seem fairly straightforward, to us at least.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and other members of Congress have urged President Biden to do something else: Use his executive authority to pardon all individuals convicted of federal, nonviolent cannabis offenses.

When Biden was a candidate he did say: “We should decriminalize marijuana” and “everyone (with a marijuana record) should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out.” He has not done it.

Should Biden issue such a blanket pardon for nonviolent cannabis offenses? You can tell Merkley what you think at or Biden at

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(4) comments

Transitory Inflation

'Use his executive authority to pardon all individuals convicted of federal, nonviolent cannabis offenses.'

Like, nationwide? That doesn't seem structurally possible. What am I missing?


The only marijuana charges that the President can pardon are FEDERAL charges. Speaking from experience, the only federal marijuana charges were VERY large grow operations, always in excess of 1000 pants, usually several times that.


No, it is not simple.

In Oregon possession of use amounts (what now sells for about $700, an ounce) has not been a crime for HALF A CENTURY - since 1972. Since an infraction, like a speeding ticket is never part of a criminal record, and Oregon was the first state to do this, why does Sen. Merkley seem so concerned? Let's say someone was just dealing a few pounds back in 1992? That MIGHT be a felony, but they were rarely charged as felons (I know, I was Deschutes' Chief Deputy DA then) Most of the time they got diversions (not actual conviction) or low level misdemeanors, that were easy o expunge three years later. In fact, it was virtually impossible to go to state prison in Oregon for any level of marijuana crimes. The federal law was different, a relatively tiny number. This is a solution in search of a problem.


Seems pretty simple to me if we're talking about Federal violations/crimes. Whatever Oregon has decided to do in the past doesn't have much relevance here.

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