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Biden Pardons Thousands Of Americans Convicted Of Simple Marijuana Possession

Washington, DC – President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of Americans who have been convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law on Thursday in what senior administration officials claimed was the first step toward a federal decriminalization of the drug.

President Biden encouraged governors across the United States to do the same thing and pardon simple possession charges in a move that would impact hundreds of thousands of Americans, CNN reported.

“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” The President said in a video announcing his executive orders.

“It’s legal in many states, and criminal records for marijuana possession have led to needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” he continued in the video. “And that’s before you address the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences. While white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people are arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”

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

The President announced he had tasked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland to “expeditiously” review the way marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

That is considered the first step toward easing the federal classification of marijuana that lumps it in the same category with LSD and heroin, according to CNN.

Administration officials would not say how low long they thought it would take to make progress on decriminalizing the drug that studies have shown has grown dramatically in popularity for medical and recreational use over the past 20 years.

“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,” a senior official told CNN.

President Biden said that some rules won’t change even if marijuana is descheduled.

“Even as federal and local regulations of marijuana change, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and under-age sales should stay in place,” he said.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law even though numerous states have legalized medical and/or recreational use.

Biden’s pardons will be issued through an administration process overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), CNN reported.

Administration officials said there are no inmates currently serving time in federal prison for simple marijuana possession.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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