Biden pardons thousands of Americans convicted of marijuana possession
US President Joe Biden has pardoned thousands of Americans convicted of "ordinary possession" of marijuana under US federal law, BGNES reported, referring to the BBC.
The move is seen as a step toward decriminalizing the drug as well as addressing charging practices that disproportionately affect people of color. In a statement, Biden said that “no one should be in prison just for using or possessing marijuana.” He added: “Too many lives have been ruined because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time to right these wrongs.” The pardon would also cover thousands of people convicted of simple possession in the District of Columbia. It will not apply to convictions related to possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Non-US citizens who did not have legal status in the country at the time of their arrest will also not be pardoned. The US president said there are thousands of people whose convictions have deprived them of the opportunity to work, live or study. “My action will help alleviate the collateral consequences arising from these convictions,” he added.
The US Department of Justice is now working on a procedure to issue a certificate of pardon to convicted persons. “The Department of Justice will expeditiously implement the President’s proclamation pardoning individuals involved in the simple possession of marijuana, restoring the political, civil, and other rights of those convicted of this crime,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement. Biden ordered the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to reclassify marijuana as Schedule 1 — which puts it alongside heroin and LSD, but ahead of fentanyl and methamphetamine. The White House has not set a timeline for the review.