Biden Pardons All Federal Offenses for Possessing Marijuana

Today, President Biden pardoned all people charged in federal court with possessing marijuana, called on governors to do the same and ordered a review of why marijuana is even on the DEA’s Schedule One list of illegal drugs.

“As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit,” Biden said.

“Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And 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,” he said.

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.” He announced three steps:

First, I am announcing a pardon of all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. I have directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals. There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.

Second, I am urging all governors to do the same with regard to state offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.

Third, I am asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances. This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic,” he said.

However, he said federal and state regulation of marijuana changes, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and under-age sales should stay in place.

In Arizona, voters legalized recreational marijuana in a November 2020 initiative. Medical use was legalized in 2010 through the passage of Proposition 203.



3 thoughts on “Biden Pardons All Federal Offenses for Possessing Marijuana”

  1. I haven’t burned a fatty in over 30 years, but this still makes me insanely happy.

    Sell your immoral private prison stocks, folks!

    Get ready to free up billions in federal dollars for better use!

    And best of all, watch in wonder as law enforcement loses a tool they’ve been using for decades to incarcerate brown people!

    This is HUGE!

    • With profuse apologies to the late John Prine:

      Will we see you tonight
      Sporting a legal smile
      It don’t cost very much
      But it lasts a long while
      No need to tell the man
      You didn’t kill anyone
      You’re just trying to have you some fun
      And I’m done
      Hot dog bun
      My sister’s a nun

  2. Good news, that’s for sure. Next logical step would be to entirely remove it from Schedule 1 so legal retailers can accept credit cards. Safer for all as being cash only creates juicy targets for theives.

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