On Thursday, President Biden declared that he would forgive all federal convictions for simple marijuana possession and urged state governors to do the same. He also ordered a review of marijuana’s Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act by federal authorities.
In a statement, Biden said, “There are thousands of Americans who have prior federal convictions for marijuana use, and they may be denied work, housing, or educational prospects as a result.” What I’m about to do will lessen the impact these convictions have on people’s everyday lives, known as “collateral repercussions.”
All earlier charges, convictions, and not-yet-prosecuted offences are being pardoned as a result of the explosive disclosure. If you or someone you know needs a pardon certificate, the Justice Department will facilitate the necessary paperwork.
More than 6,500 people, according to senior administration estimates, would receive federal pardons, and many more with code convictions in the District of Columbia would be affected. Officials, however, stressed that nobody is currently incarcerated in the United States Federal Correctional Institutions for the sole reason of having been convicted of simple marijuana possession. Most convictions for simple possession of marijuana occur at the state level and are therefore unaffected by federal pardons. Thus, Biden has urged governors to grant pardons for such offences.
“No one should be in jail merely for using or carrying marijuana,” Biden said in a video speech introducing the measures.
Criminalizing marijuana, Biden said, is a “failed policy” since it has hurt minority populations disproportionately. This is true despite the fact that white Americans use marijuana at the same rate as minorities.
Some authorities have speculated that Biden is acting now so that he can fulfil his campaign promises.
Finally, Biden is urging the HHS secretary and the AG to “expeditiously” reconsider the classification of marijuana. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, the most severe category, alongside more harmful chemicals like heroin and LSD and above less harmful drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl. There is presently no defined schedule or timeline for the review, although senior authorities have emphasised it should be completed quickly.
“Our disastrous approach to marijuana has upended too many lives,” Biden stated. It’s high time we put an end to this injustice.