WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced he will pardon thousands who were convicted of marijuana possession under federal law with the use of executive action.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Biden’s action will make good on a campaign promise to decriminalize marijuana and marks a shift in the federal government’s approach to marijuana policy.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
A senior administration official said that over 6,500 U.S. citizens were convicted for possession of the drug under federal law from 1992 to 2001. Currently, there is no one in federal prison for possession and most possession convictions occur at the state level, the official said.
Marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota are voting in November on whether to legalize marijuana for adults. Meanwhile, 19 states along with Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21.
“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs,” the President said.
Biden’s decision comes just weeks before November’s midterm elections, where Democrats are attempting to hold on to their slim majorities in both the House and the Senate. A recent poll found that 68 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana.
“The process will take some time because it must be based on a careful consideration of all of the available evidence, including scientific and medical information that’s available,” one senior official said.