Biden Forgives All Past Federal Violations Of Simple Marijuana Possession

The Stigma Behind Marijuana

Many are reluctant to discuss cannabis use despite legalization


President Biden pardons all past federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, the White House announced Thursday, although senior officials emphasized to reporters that there are currently no people in federal prisons solely for simple marijuana possession. The president also asks the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review how marijuana is classified under federal law.

In addition, the president is urging all governors to pardon state crimes of simple marijuana possession. Liberals have long pressured Mr Biden to legalize cannabis. The announcement, which does not comply with legalizationbarely a month out of the competitive midterm elections that will determine control of the House and Senate.

“As I’ve said many times during my presidential campaign, no one should be in prison just for using or possessing marijuana,” the president said in a statement. “Sending people to jail for marijuana possession has turned too many lives upside down and locked people up for behavior that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities. While white and black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”

The president said he had instructed Attorney General Merrick Garland to develop a process to issue pardons to eligible Americans, a measure to help alleviate the consequences for those to whom housing or employment would be sought. may be refused. He is also asking HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to review and reconsider the classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, a classification intended for the most hazardous substances.

“This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification for fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are causing our overdose epidemic,” the president said.

The president still wants restrictions on the trade, marketing and sale of weed by minors to be enforced.

“Too many lives have been turned upside down because of our failed approach to marijuana,” said Mr Biden. “It’s time we right these mistakes.”

The shift in punishment for marijuana possession is a shift for Mr. Biden. As vice president, he firmly resisted the drug. In 2010, he told ABC News, “I still believe it’s a gateway drug,” and legalizing it would be “a mistake.”

— Gaby Ake contributed to this report. This is a story in development.

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