Share
News

Huge: Biden Pardons Thousands of Drug Convicts, Then Calls Governors to Act

Share

President Joe Biden is pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law, as his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug.

Biden’s move also covers thousands convicted of the crime in the District of Columbia. He is also calling on governors to issue similar pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offenses.

Biden, in a statement, said the move reflects his position that “no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.”

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” he added. “It’s time that we right these wrongs.”

According to the White House, no one is currently in federal prison solely for “simple possession” of the drug, but the pardon could help convicts overcome obstacles to renting a home or finding a job.

Trending:
Hollywood Star's Wife Played Key Role in International Criminal Court's Arrest Warrant for Israeli Leaders

“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,” he said. “My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”

The pardon does not cover convictions for possession of other drugs, or charges related to producing or possessing marijuana with an intent to distribute. Biden is also not pardoning non-citizens who were in the U.S. without legal status at the time of their arrest.

The Department of Justice is working to devise a process for those covered by Biden’s pardon to receive a certificate of pardon, which they can show to potential employers and others as needed.

“The Justice Department will expeditiously administer the President’s proclamation, which pardons individuals who engaged in simple possession of marijuana, restoring political, civil, and other rights to those convicted of that offense,” the department said in a statement.

Should marijuana be decriminalized?

“In coming days, the Office of the Pardon Attorney will begin implementing a process to provide impacted individuals with certificates of pardon.”

Biden is also directing the secretary of Health and Human Services and the U.S. attorney general to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Rescheduling the drug would reduce or potentially eliminate criminal penalties for possession.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD, but ahead of fentanyl and methamphetamine. The White House did not set a timeline for the review.

But Biden said he believes that as the federal government and many states ease marijuana laws, they should maintain limitations on trafficking, marketing and underage sales.

The move by Biden puts the federal government on course with big cities like New York that have been moving toward decriminalizing low-level marijuana arrests for years. But there’s a big divide in the nation, as some police departments still believe the drug leads to more serious crime and ignoring low-level offenses emboldens criminals.

Related:
Capitol Police Investigating After Drug Discovery at Headquarters

The move also fulfills one of the top priorities of the Democratic nominee in one of the most critical Senate races, as Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has repeatedly pressed Biden to take the step, including last month when they met in Pittsburgh.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation