President Joe Biden pardoned all federal offenses related to simple marijuana possession on Thursday in a statement released by the White House.
He also announced that his administration would examine whether marijuana should still be included in the same Schedule I drug category as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. According to CNBC, this will have an impact on more than 6,500 persons in the District of Columbia who have had prior convictions for simple marijuana possession.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 6, 2022
Additionally, Biden stated that his administration would ask all US governors to pardon any comparable statewide charges. Biden also requested that a study of marijuana’s federal legal classification be started by Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
In a statement on Thursday, Biden noted that “there are thousands of people who have previously been convicted of simple possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational prospects as a result.” This weight will be lifted by my pardon.
On the 2020 presidential campaign road, Biden promised to advance marijuana legalization; nevertheless, the administration’s action on Thursday is the first important step toward fulfilling that commitment. Additionally, it happens just a few weeks before the general elections in November, when Democrats will be battling to keep their legislative majorities.
Biden sent a comment on Twitter on Thursday saying, “As I’ve stated before, no one should be in jail solely for using or possessing marijuana.” Too many lives have been upended by sending people to prison for carrying marijuana, even though this behavior is permitted in many places.
The Biden administration is still not doing anything to decriminalize marijuana. Prior to his Labor Day visit to the state, Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman from Pennsylvania asked Vice President Biden to decriminalize marijuana in August.
According to a study published by the FBI in September 2021, there were 36% fewer marijuana-related arrests in 2020 than there were in 2019.