BREAKING: President Joe Biden has announced he’s issuing a federal pardon to every American who has used marijuana in the past
President Joe Biden has announced he’s issuing a federal pardon to every American who has used marijuana in the past, including those who were never arrested or prosecuted, per CBS.
It does not cover individuals imprisoned for selling marijuana, an activity illegal under federal law, or other offenses like driving under the influence of the substance.
The broad amnesty extends to all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who possess marijuana for personal use, as well as those convicted of similar federal offenses. It also pardons individuals in the District of Columbia facing such charges. However, it does not cover individuals imprisoned for selling marijuana, an activity illegal under federal law, or other offenses like driving under the influence of the substance.
Biden’s pardon holds substantial significance, as prior criminal records related to marijuana use and possession have imposed obstacles to employment, housing, and education. Notably, the pardons do not encompass violations of state law, and those seeking proof of a pardon must apply through the Department of Justice.
Building on a similar pardon issued last year and prior promises of reforms, this year’s proclamation goes further by forgiving all instances of simple marijuana use or possession under federal law, even for those never charged. It extends Biden’s previous directive to include minor marijuana offenses committed on federal property.
The White House estimates that thousands of individuals with federal and district convictions will be eligible for these pardons, announced just three days before Christmas. In a statement, Biden emphasized that Americans should not face imprisonment solely for marijuana use or possession, urging governors to extend clemency for state offenses.
Biden also commuted the sentences of 11 individuals serving disproportionately long terms for nonviolent drug offenses, asserting that they would receive shorter sentences under present-day charging standards.
The Congressional Black Caucus welcomed the pardons as a “positive step forward” in addressing historic racial disparities in crack and powder cocaine sentencing, highlighting the disproportionate impact on Black Americans due to the decades-old War on Drugs policies. The group expressed hope for further clemency for Black Americans affected by these longstanding measures.