In an interview with Killer Mike, TMZ reports that the rapper expressed his desire to see more action on the part of Biden and his administration, which recently commuted 75 sentences and pardoned three people. An unnamed TMZ reporter caught Killer Mike at an airport for a brief question about his thoughts on the subject while they walked.
“I think we can always do better,” Killer Mike said. “I think as many as we are letting out, we probably should quadruple that. I think that beyond that, that should be a priority for non-violent drug offenders in terms of marijuana and things like that. They should have first bids at licensing.”
The interviewer inquired about the need for justice, and Killer Mike presented what needs to be done. “I think they should get first priority to get the state license and beyond. I think the feds owe them that. I think that that’s the way you truly repent for a drug war gone terribly wrong.
“I think the oligarchy in this country owes the people who this industry’s been built on, that’s going to bring billions to this country,” he continued. “All the people that were outlaws that paved the way.”
On April 26, President Joe Biden announced that he would be commuting the sentences of 75 people, and issuing three pardons. “Today, I am pardoning three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities. I am also commuting the sentences of 75 people who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses, many of whom have been serving on home confinement during the COVID-pandemic—and many of whom would have received a lower sentence if they were charged with the same offense today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act.” Biden also stated that his administrations would continue to “…review clemency petitions and deliver reforms that advance equity and justice, provide second chances, and enhance the wellbeing and safety of all Americans.”
While it’s a welcome decision, as people of the industry have eagerly awaited Biden and his administration to make a positive move for those who were wrongfully convicted of cannabis crimes, many believe it’s not enough.
Advocates such as Leo Bridgewater, who is an army war veteran, longstanding cannabis advocate, and National Director of Heart Community Capital and Minorities for Medical Marijuana, believes that Biden’s move barely scratches the surface. “Setting them free is not the end all be all. Allowing them to be the first to market business entrepreneurs in their communities would be proper restitution,” he wrote on Instagram. Bridgewater was recently named one of the most influential people in the cannabis industry in the High Times 100.
Killer Mike has long been a vocal advocate of ending the War on Drugs. In 2016, he wrote an article in Rolling Stone explaining how the U.S. can right these wrongs. “As marijuana reform begins to de-escalate the drug war, creating new opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in the process, it is imperative that the people most in need of a second chance actually get one,” Killer Mike wrote. “The price they have already paid for our failed drug policy is steep enough.”
In 2015, Killer Mike sat down to ask Bernie Sanders questions in a six-part video series that spanned topics such as economic freedom, social justice, free health care, and more. In part four, they discussed the War on Drugs and prison reform.