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NYT Reporter Pours Cold Water On Biden’s Plan To ‘Energize’ Black Voters With Marijuana Action

New York Times White House correspondent Zolan Kanno-Youngs told CNN on Friday that President Joe Biden’s administration’s effort to reschedule marijuana to reduce criminal punishment will not be sufficient to secure the black vote.

The Department of Justice revealed a proposal on Thursday to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III, which would reduce federal penalties related to marijuana possession if approved. Kanno-Young noted on “Inside Politics With Dana Bash” that this would take significant time to take effect and that black voters are more concerned about economic issues.


“It’s early and we’re looking at polling here, but one, I can tell you that these numbers have the attention of …some of President Biden’s closest political advisers,” Kanno-Young said. “They are worried about about this frustration thus far because this very much is the base of the party and in a way sort of scrambling for different policy achievements now that you can show that can energize not just voters in black community, which is obviously not a monolith, but specifically young black voters as well. So that falls as the marijuana announcement definitely is an example of that.”

Black Georgia Republican voters told MSNBC on Wednesday that former President Donald Trump’s legal struggles have caused them to back him more passionately, suggesting they appear to be examples of political persecution rather than legitimate charges.

“Look, that’s essentially a proposed rule,” he continued. “It’s not going to take effect for a while. It’s like a long arduous process. The fact that the president put out a video with it yesterday, a week after the Justice Department sort of recommendation to the White House even shows just the urgency to really find something to energize these voters. But I do want to say too, look when we talk about young black voters, when we talk about voters in the black community, many of the concerns are the same that many American voters have. It‘s the economy, right? It’s frustrations around affordability. So just looking for sort of different announcements such as like a marijuana announcement is not going to suffice.”

Biden has expressed his support for the proposal, noting its role in correcting past injustices linked to marijuana laws.

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” Biden posted on X Thursday. “So today, the @TheJusticeDept is taking the next step to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug under federal law.”

Trump’s backing among black men has surged in seven battleground states to 30%, over double his support nationally among this same group in 2020’s election, according to an April poll published by The Wall Street Journal.

Radio host Charlamagne Tha God said black voters may be shifting to backing Trump in part because they can appreciate criminal justice reform he enacted. Trump signed the bipartisan First Step Act in 2018, which sought to reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

“[P]eople they love actually get out of prison,” Charlamagne said. “And he takes the credit for it.”

Charlamagne also called out Biden for co-sponsoring the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which strengthened prison sentences for drug possession, as well as the 1994 crime bill, authored by Biden, which some experts believe contributed to systemic racism.

“You cannot bring up President Biden without talking about the ’86 mandatory minimum sentencing, the ’88 crack laws and the ’94 crime bill,” the radio host said. “If people go back and watch my conversation with Joe Biden on ‘The Breakfast Club,’ I said to him, the ’94 crime bill led to mass incarceration and he goes, No, it was mandatory minimum sentencing, and I go, Yeah, and you were behind that one too!”

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