Biden Pardons All Convicts of Marijuana Possession at the Federal Level

Brian Burns / October 04,2022

 

Washington – The president of United States, Joe Biden, granted a pardon to thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession of dopeas his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug.

 

He is also asking governors to issue similar pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offenses, which reflect the vast majority of marijuana possession cases.

Biden, in a statement, said the move reflects his position that “no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.”

According to the White House, no one is currently in federal prison solely for “simple possession” of the drug, but the pardon could help thousands of people overcome obstacles to renting a home or finding a job.

“There are thousands of people who have prior federal marijuana possession convictions, who may be denied employment, housing or educational opportunities as a result,” he said. “My action will help alleviate the collateral consequences stemming from these convictions.”

The pardon does not cover convictions for possession of other drugs, or for charges related to the production or possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute it. Biden also does not pardon non-citizens who were in the United States without legal status at the time of their arrest.

The Justice Department is working on a process for people covered by Biden’s pardon to receive a pardon certificate, which they can show to potential employers and others when needed.

“The Department of Justice will expeditiously administer the President’s proclamation pardoning individuals who engaged in simple possession of marijuana, restoring political, civil and other rights to those convicted of that crime,” the department said in a statement. . “In the coming days, the Clemency Attorney’s Office will begin implementing a process to provide impacted individuals with clemency certificates.”

The president also instructed the secretary of Health and Human Services and the attorney general of the United States to review the classification of marijuana in federal legislation. Reclassifying the drug would reduce or potentially eliminate criminal penalties for possession.

However, Biden maintained that he believes that as the federal government and many states relax marijuana laws, they should maintain limitations on trafficking, marketing and sale to minors.

Biden’s move puts the federal government on par with other big cities like New York that have spent years moving toward decriminalizing low-level marijuana arrests. However, there is a great divide in the country, as some police departments continue to believe that drugs lead to more serious crimes and that ignoring low-level crimes encourages criminals.

The move also meets one of the Democratic nominee’s top priorities in one of his party’s most critical Senate races, as Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has repeatedly pushed Biden to take the plunge.

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