On October 6th of this year(2022) President Biden Pardoned Thousands Of People that had been convicted of possessing marijuana under federal law. He has also urged state governors to do the same thing for those who have been convicted under state law.
Pardons have been issued for possession offences only, not for convictions for selling or distributing the drug. There are many more convictions at state level than there are federal convictions.
President Biden’s pardon means at least 6,500 people will no longer have this offence on their criminal record. For many of these people, it will mean that they no longer have a criminal record at all. No one will need to be released from federal prison as a result of the pardon because there is no one currently serving prison time just for possession of cannabis.
In his speech announcing the move, Biden made reference to the fact that the drug was used in similar levels by white people and people of color. However, it is people of color that are disproportionately affected in terms of arrests, prosecutions and convictions.
Recreational use of marijuana is permitted in the District of Columbia and nineteen other states. This means 40% of Americans are living in a place where possessing a small amount of marijuana is not actually illegal. Medical use of marijuana is currently legal in thirty-eight states.