Biden issues pardons for certain marijuana offenses

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden issued a proclamation to pardon certain marijuana offenses Friday, building on broader action he took last year for thousands of people convicted of possession under federal law.

The new pardons target “additional offenses of simple possession and use of marijuana under federal and D.C. law,” Biden said in a statement. The proclamation includes offenses related to “use and possession on certain Federal lands,” provisions that weren’t covered by the 2022 proclamation.

“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” Biden said in the statement. “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.”

He also called on governors to take similar actions with state marijuana-related offenses, arguing that no one should be in jail or prison “solely due to the use or possession of marijuana.”

It was not immediately clear how many people would be affected by the new pardons.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommended in August that the Drug Enforcement Administration ease marijuana restrictions by moving it to a Schedule III drug, which would be a significant change to federal drug policy. The DEA still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside drugs such as heroin and LSD. Most states allow marijuana use in some form, such as recreationally or for medical purposes.

“Due to reforms, each of these clemency recipients would have been eligible for reduced sentences, had they been sentenced today,” a White House official said in an email. “This clemency grant represents the President’s commitment to addressing unjustified disparities in sentencing.”

Biden has granted clemency several times since he took office, most recently in April to 31 people convicted of drug-related offenses.

During his 2020 campaign, Biden called for the automatic expungement of cannabis use convictions

By Free Cannabis Directory

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