Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the political firebrand known in most American households simply by her initials, introduced the Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act in 2021 to give previous low-level cannabis offenders an opportunity to have their crimes expunged.
The bill didn’t pass, but AOC’s push for cannabis reform set the stage for President Joe Biden’s recent executive order pardoning anyone ever convicted of simple cannabis possession under federal law.
A Democrat from the Bronx in New York City, Ocasio-Cortez said she won’t be satisfied until cannabis is completely legal.
Expunging previous possession crimes and removing the plant from Schedule I on the DEA’s list of banned substances is a start, but her ultimate goal is regulating it similar to alcohol.
“Marijuana should be legalized, and drug consumption should be decriminalized. These are matters of public health,” Ocasio-Cortez says.
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.