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Jimmy Kimmel applauds President Joe Biden’s ‘cannabis-friendly decision’

Oct 7, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
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‘Just glad that Willie Nelson is alive to see this happen,’ talk show host jokes

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President Joe Biden’s plan to pardon prior federal offences for simple cannabis possession and signalling that weed reform is in the works has sparked plenty of buzz, including from Jimmy Kimmel who expects that Willie Nelson will be greatly pleased.

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During Thursday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the talk show host noted (at about 1:29 of his monologue) that President Biden fulfilled his campaign promise to pardon the non-violent, possession convictions, which elicited a loud and enthusiastic response from audience members. The move is expected to clear the criminal records of more than 6,000 Americans, Kimmel said.

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“But it is the most cannabis-friendly decision by a U.S. president yet. I, for one, am just glad that Willie Nelson is alive to see this happen,” he said.

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“As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” President Biden noted in a statement. “Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit.”

Movement on the cannabis file has proved a sore point for some U.S. voters, with a YouGov/The Economist survey from early 2022 showing only 23 per cent of respondents believed the president had made solid progress on his campaign promise to decriminalize cannabis in his first year in office.

Legalization will likely have to wait for ‘President Woodrow Harrelson’

Although President Biden’s announcement does not represent full decriminalization or legalization, Kimmel said, that is something that “will probably have to wait until we have a President Woodrow Harrelson or something,” Kimmel quipped, referring to Woody Harrelson, a decades-long weed advocate and recipient of the Emerald Cup’s 2022 “Willie Nelson” Award.

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In granting the honour, the Emerald Cup cited the three-time Oscar nominee’s “decades of fearless advocacy on behalf of cannabis culture, veganism and a healthy questioning of the status quo.”

Harrelson, 61, joined past celebrity winners like comedian and octogenarian stoner Tommy Chong and Nelson, the ganja grandaddy of them all.

Nelson has been none-too-shy about his support for pot. Last year, he asked President Biden to recognize 4/20 as a weeklong celebration.

The new dispensary and lounge, backed by Harrelson, Bill Maher and others, “showcases an environmentally elegant yet Zen-focused design.” /
The new dispensary and lounge, backed by Harrelson, Bill Maher and others, “showcases an environmentally elegant yet Zen-focused design.” / Photo by Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Giffoni

Willie Nelson has access to some really potent weed

And Nelson should know a thing or two about cannabis, or at least that’s what some fellow musicians think.

Kyle Shutt, guitarist for stoner band The Sword, says the most potent pot he ever had was thanks to Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. But Shutt relayed that his second-best-ever weed was courtesy of Nelson’s reported dealers. “Wow, that was incredible,” he added.

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No word on whether or not legendary Led Zeppelin singer/songwriter Robert Plant partook, but he did note in 2021 that Nelson would make sure to provide free weed for the masses while the two iconic musicians were on tour together.

Willie Nelson will be a keynote speaker at this year’s SXSW conference. /
Willie Nelson will be a keynote speaker at this year’s SXSW conference. / Photo by Jason Davis / Getty Images

President Biden urges governors to follow suit on pardons for state convictions

As part of his announcement, President Biden urged all Governors to also offer pardons for state offences and asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General “to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”

As it stands, cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, which the Drug and Enforcement Administration deems has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

The planned changes will likely bring the Biden Administration more into step with the thoughts of people in the U.S. In the spring of 2021, Pew Research reported that 91 per cent of respondents think that marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use. Gallup announced that winter that support for legal cannabis had reached a record high of 68 per cent.

Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show, added “this is something that should have been done a long time ago,” and “this is great for America.”

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