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Sen. Van Hollen supports Md. marijuana pardons & wants expungements in SAFER Banking Act
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Sen. Van Hollen supports Md. marijuana pardons & wants expungements in SAFER Banking Act

Ep. 45 — Sen. Chris Van Hollen (6-18-2024)
Portrait of prison reform advocate and former Rep. Shirley Chisholm in the US Capitol. Photo: Matt Laslo

Who?

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) — Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee

LISTEN: Laslo & Van Hollen

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-2:14

Ask a Pol asks:

What’s your reaction to Maryland’s governor pardoning people with marijuana convictions?

Key Van Hollen: 

“Oh, I support it 100%,” Sen. Van Hollen exclusively tells Ask a Pol. “I’ve long been in favor of decriminalizing marijuana. So it obviously makes sense to pardon anybody who is convicted of recreational marijuana use.”

Caught our ear: SAFER Banking Act

Should this be a priority for your party — with things like the SAFER Banking Act and presidential pardons?

“I think when it comes to the SAFE Banking Act one of the issues has been the issue with past wrongs as you pass this. So that’s still a missing piece of that,” Van Hollen says. “I want that in there. I’m supportive. I voted for it in Banking Committee, but I made it clear I’d like to see this added.”

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Matt Laslo’s a veteran congressional correspondent, new media prof. & founder of Ask a Pol — a new, people-powered press corps.

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Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), slightly edited for clarity.

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TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Chris Van Hollen

SCENE: After voting on the Senate floor, Van Hollen’s walking through the basement of the US Capitol before hopping the tram back to his office across the street.

Matt Laslo: “How are you, sir?”

Chris Van Hollen: “Good.”

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ML: “What do you think of this announcement from the governor on the marijuana pardons?” 

CVH: “Oh, I support it 100%.”

ML: “Yeah?”

CVH: “Right. So these are individuals who had these penalties hanging over their head for recreational marijuana use. I’ve long been in favor of decriminalizing marijuana.”

ML: “Yeah?”

CVH: “So it obviously makes sense to pardon anybody who is convicted of recreational marijuana use.”

ML: “How much of a priority do you think it should be for your party — SAFER Banking Act, things like these, even Biden doing more pardons?”

CVH: “Well, look, again, I wanna applaud the effort in Maryland. I think when it comes to the SAFE Banking Act one of the issues has been the issue with past wrongs as you pass this. So that’s still a missing piece of that.” 

ML: “And you wanna see that stay — or you want that in there?”

CVH: “I want that in there.”

ML: “Yeah. Are you supportive right now or?”

CVH: “I’m supportive. I voted for it in Banking Committee, but I made it clear I’d like to see this added.”

ML: “Yeah. Preciate ya.”

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