Redman and Steve DeAngelo Protest: Biden's Weed Pardons Don't Go Far Enough
Can a 50-foot inflatable joint and a Redman speech at the White House get their message across?
Published on October 28, 2022

Cannabis advocates brought a massive joint to a Monday morning protest in front of the White House

The protest focused on President Joe Biden’s recent pardons for people with some weed-related criminal offenses as “a failed opportunity to make real change,” said cannabis justice non-profit founder Steve DeAngelo, according to the Washington Post.  

The announced pardons are for individuals who have been federally convicted for “simple possession” of weed. It’s been billed as the first step toward federal cannabis decriminalization and rectifying the damage wrought by a racially-biased Drug War. Biden also announced that he wants a review done quickly of cannabis’ current status as a Schedule I drug. Descheduling the drug could lead to more freedom for states to enact their own legalization schemes for cannabis.

But not all are convinced that the president’s moves were as decisive as they could have been.

“The president could have done so much more than he did,” continued DeAngelo at the Monday protest. DeAngelo is the founder of the California dispensary Harborside (of which he is no longer associated), and has spent time in recent years advocating for the release of cannabis prisoners. 

“[Biden] really only did the bare minimum thing that he could do to generate a positive-sounding press release,” DeAngelo said.

Protestors held up an inflatable joint that measured about 50 feet long to higlight weed-related Drug War incarcerations are long past their due dates. They walked along Pennsylvania Avenue, eventually arriving at the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is positioned alongside the West Wing. On one side of the massive spliff were written the words “quit Biden our time.”

What resulted was a smoke-out — with speeches made by rappers Redman and M-1 of Dead Prez for good measure.

They came with receipts, too. Audio from one of Biden’s 2020 presidential debates blazed from the protestors' speakers. Facing off against cannabis decriminalization champion Cory Booker, who earlier this year introduced a bill to federally deschedule the drug, Biden said, “everyone, anyone who has a record should be let out of jail, their records expunged.”

Cannabis advocates have been incensed by what they see as Biden’s failure to put into action campaign promises that he would clear all federal cannabis-related convictions.

The White House has commented that the proposed pardons comply with those vows, stating that no one is in federal prison for cannabis possession alone. But that’s not to say that no one in the United States is behind bars for other federal charges related to marijuana, such as possession with intent to sell.

Data non-profit Recidiviz released a report this year that stated, “ceasing federal prison commitments for marijuana-related offenses could reduce incarceration costs by $571.8M and the federal prison population by 2,807 over 5 years.”

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud. 

Cover image via

Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
Share this article with your friends!
By using our site you agree to our use of cookies to deliver a better experience.