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Where Is My Clemency Petition? Where Is President Biden’s Mercy?


Two-thousand-twenty-two came to a close, and now we’re in the third month of 2023. The expectations to be released from federal prison have gone out the window. My hopes shattered like glass. I really thought when President Biden started pardoning people during this past Christmas Holidays, I was going to be released. But then again, that would go against my sentencing judge’s judicial decree that still stands after 25 years served, “I want him to serve every single day of those 40 years in a maximum security prison … until he learns not to sell marijuana to the American people.”

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   At this juncture, the only thing left for me to do is to critique and inquire whether the injustice of keeping the cannabis prisoners behind bars – in light of the profit margin currently generated by the cannabis industry – has any political ring to it, or influence, under more precise terms. I mean, President Biden pardoned 6,500 people for simple possession of marijuana (under federal law) right before the November mid-terms of 2022; then pardoned 6 more before the New Year’s weekend – but NO ONE IN CONFINEMENT.

   Aren’t those the ones who need reprieve? Aren’t the ones in confinement severely harmed by the “war on cannabis” and in need of release? What is so hard about righting a wrong in the furtherance of mercy? What’s so hard for our President and Vice-President to fulfill the promises made before they became elected officials? Or are they merely adhering to the political game clothed under presumed intentions: “Promise the voters redress and just resolution on specific issues – only to renege on such promises once the position in power is acquired.”


   I don’t understand politics and never have. But one thing I do understand is common sense under constitutional grounds. And if the Constitution has empowered our President of the United States with broad clemency powers to pardon or grant clemency to those harmed by unjust laws that are simply outdated within the norms of our society, why isn’t our commander in chief expeditiously exercising such power in light of justice? Or has justice lost its luster?

   As we stand today, 17,000 clemency petitions are strenuously backlogged in the Office of The Pardon Attorney, Ms. Elizabeth M. Oyer, patiently waiting for President Biden to grant them reprieve of some sort. This includes part of the estimated 2,800 cannabis federal prisoners. The Office of The Pardon Attorney claims it is unable to act on those petitions until the White House Counsel decides to request those clemency/pardon applications from Ms. Elizabeth M. Oyer and thereby present them to President Biden. At this time said action remains in limbo.

   So we pose a questionable resolution. Why doesn’t the White House take the same political approach it took abroad when it brought Brittney Griner home? Why doesn’t the White House employ the same legal tactics and bring the cannabis prisoners home to their families? In real life, all it would take is a brush with a pen on a piece of paper and the cannabis prisoners would be set free. But then again, real life in the political arena tends to take on a different meaning. It has to have an advantageous angle.

   On the sad part, and trust me it is sad, without clemency from President Biden, my hands shall remain shackled for another ten years; until 2033. By then, I’ll have served 34 years in federal prison for a non-violent marijuana crime. My parents will most likely be dead. My sons will be in their mid-thirties, a long way off from where I left them back in 1998. One was five, the other three, and the other was not yet born.

   And even sadder is the false pretense I gave my family this past Christmas. The impression that President Biden was going to finally grant me a reprieve. Instead of being set free, we all received a ribboned present of disappointment. No different from the past twenty-three Christmas.

   The only thing left for me is to have faith against faith that President Biden will one day fulfill his promise and release all of us cannabis prisoners from federal prison. But at this point, it seems severely slim to non-existent.

    My clemency petition will continue to languish indefinitely in the Office of The Pardon Attorney. Justice for cannabis prisoners will continue to take a back seat in the arena of politics. Even when 63% or more of the U.S. population approve of cannabis existence for medical and recreational reasons. Even when the pockets of this newfound industry overflow with profits. Even when ex-speaker of the House, John Boehner, and other politicians which I am unable to cite by name, have found cannabis profit the name of the game.

   On a closing note, does it make sense to keep me in prison for a non-violent marijuana crime? Politically or otherwise? When I’ve already served 25 years in prison and have accomplished over 30 rehabilitation programs and have earned three college degrees and am currently mentoring other inmates to reduce prisoner recidivism. If this does make sense to the American people, then we are truly living in a country where the lady of justice is not blindly objective, and her scales have tipped toward fascism instead of democracy.
Edwin Rubis is a cannabis prisoner serving 40 years for a non-violent crime. He has been in prison since 1998. His release date is 2033. You can help Edwin’s release from prison: https://fundrazr.com/829bk6?ref=ab_7CEpSd
You can send Edwin a personal message to this text number: (256) 695-0223

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