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Biden pardons federal marijuana possession offenses

Biden pardons federal marijuana possession offenses

President Joe Biden announced that it will pardon all federal crimes of simple marijuana possession on Thursday, in what amounts to the first big step toward decriminalization nationwide.

The move fulfills a campaign promise Biden made to erase any prior federal possession convictions and will affect thousands of Americans charged with the crime, according to senior administration officials.

President Biden Points Out How the Law Unfairly Affects Black People, Despite Similar Usage Rates Among Whites

In a speech announcing the executive action, Biden noted that marijuana is already legal in many states, noting that “criminal records for marijuana possession have created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities.”

(Photo by Eitan ABRAMOVICH/AFP) (Photo by EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP via Getty Images)

“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said. “It’s legal in many states, and criminal records for marijuana possession have created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.

The president also spoke of the racial disparity when it comes to marijuana possession charges, adding that “black and brown people are disproportionately arrested … and convicted.”

“And that’s before we address racial disparities around who suffers the consequences. While white, black, and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, black and brown people are arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced at disproportionate rates.”

President Joe Biden signs two bipartisan bills to help combat those who have committed fraud during the pandemic.
(Photo by Evan Vucci – Pool/Getty Images)

In April, the House officially passed the MORE Act, which would legalize marijuana across the country, the shadow room previously reported.

The bill eliminates criminal penalties for anyone who manufactures, distributes, or possesses the substance. According to CNN, the bill was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York. In addition to decriminalizing, it will prevent federal agencies from denying federal workers security clearances for cannabis use.

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Biden encourages state governors to follow the example of the federal government and tasks the attorney general with reviewing the classification

Biden went on to encourage governors to follow suit and similarly pardon simple state marijuana possession charges, which would increase the number of Americans affected by such crimes.

The Department of Health and Human Services and Attorney General Merrick Garland will be tasked with a “expedited” review of how the drug is scheduled under federal law in a larger effort to ease federal scheduling standards.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Marijuana is currently in the same category of much harder drugs as heroin and LSD.

Biden’s announcement comes just a month before the crucial midterm elections in November, which will determine who controls Congress.

Marijuana legalization is a central issue in swing districts across the country ahead of midterm elections

Several candidates running for a seat in the US Senate, namely Pennsylvania’s Democratic Lt. Governor John Fetterman, have focused much of their campaigns on the issue of marijuana legalization.

Fetterman and Biden met last month and the candidate said in advance that he would raise the issue with the president.

Democrats, meanwhile, are seeking to balance their progressive values ​​and push back against accusations that they are soft on crime, which remains a major problem in certain swing districts.


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