Andrew Yang promises mass pardon to those imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana offenses

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew YangAndrew Yang2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Yang: 'Cancel culture' has become source of 'fear' for Americans Hundreds of thousands turn out in New York, other major cities for climate marches MORE promised a "mass pardon" to those imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana convictions. 

Yang told the crowd at a Concord, N.H., event hosted by the ACLU on Friday, "I'm going to mass pardon everyone who is in jail for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses," according to Fox News

Yang's campaign site says he supports the full legalization of marijuana at the federal level as well as removing it from the controlled substances list. He also calls, on his website, to expunge federal convictions of all marijuana-related use or possession offenses.

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“Americans now recognize just how broken our mass incarceration system is and how much progress we need to make," Yang told the crowd on Friday.

Yang first made headlines for his proposal to give mass pardons for marijuana convictions in April, when many still considered the candidate — who recently qualified for the fall debates a long shot

"I would legalize marijuana and then I would pardon everyone who's in jail for a nonviolent drug-related offense," Yang said at the National Action Network conference in New York City in April. "I would pardon them on April 20, 2021 and I would high-five them on the way out of jail."

 

Marijuana legalization has been championed by a number of 2020 Democrats, with several also offering bills and proposals to expunge records of those charged with using or possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Earlier this year fellow presidential candidate Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Yang floats nominating Inslee as 'climate czar' MORE also granted official pardons to thousands of Washington residents convicted of low-level possession charges. 

The issue has gained national attention as recreational marijuana has been legalized at the state level in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana has been legalized in 33 states.