Criminal reform and cannabis advocate Weldon Angelos, who launched The Cannabis Freedom Alliance with billionaire Charles Koch last year, told U.S. senators at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill that cannabis prohibition prevents him from actual participation in society.
At a Tuesday hearing titled “Decriminalizing Cannabis at the Federal Level: Necessary Steps to Address Past Harms,” which was held by The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism and chaired by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Angelos called a marijuana conviction a modern “scarlet letter.”
“The lack of expungements prevents true participation in society,” Angelos said, according to MSN.
Angelos was one of the five witnesses scheduled to testify.
The meeting came on the heels of last week’s presentation of a long-awaited marijuana bill — the Cannabis Administration And Opportunity Act (CAOA) — which would decriminalize and deschedule cannabis on the federal level while also promoting social equity. Booker sponsored the bill alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The measure also includes the language that would expunge marijuana convictions as it seeks to address the issue of adverse effects of cannabis prohibition.
Previously incarcerated for a non-violent marijuana-related offense, Angelos was pardoned by President Donald Trump on Dec. 22, 2020, alongside 14 other convicts. He was sentenced to 55 years without the possibility of parole in 2004 for selling marijuana to an undercover officer.
Over the years, Angelos and his team at the Weldon Project, an initiative to fund social change and financial aid for those imprisoned for cannabis, have been promoting social change through partnerships with companies such as KushCo Holdings Inc. — now Greenlane Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNLN) — and blockchain company Burn1 as well as celebrities such as Snoop Dog and Berner.
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