Biden to pardon all federal offenses of marijuana possession

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

Updated: October 6, 2022 - 3:29pm

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With the midterm elections fast approaching, President Joe Biden is planning to issue a mass pardon to everyone previously convicted on federal charges of simple marijuana possession.

"Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit," he said, per CNN. "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."

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, though many states have legalized its use either for medicinal or recreational purposes. The president added that he would encourage state governors to pursue similar action and will task federal agencies to review the government's scheduling of the drug, per the outlet.

Marijuana is currently a schedule 1 narcotic, indicating it has "a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision," according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

The pardon will affect roughly 6,500 individuals with federal marijuana convictions, per USA Today. The overwhelming majority of convictions occur at the state level, however.

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