President Biden issues executive order pardoning federal offenses of simple marijuana possession

The executive order will "pardon more than 6,500 individuals convicted of the offense and thousands more through pardons under Washington D.C. law."

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Members of the advocacy group D.C. Marijuana Justice hold a 51-foot blow-up joint on the National Mall on April 28, 2021. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

President Biden signed an executive order pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. According to Causes.com, the executive order will “pardon more than 6,500 individuals convicted of the offense and thousands more through pardons under Washington D.C. law.”

“There are thousands of people who were convicted for marijuana possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result,” Biden said. “My pardon will remove this burden on them.”

He called on state governments to follow suit regarding state offenses of civil possession of marijuana.

“Just as no one should be in federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason either,” Biden said.

Biden also asked that the secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General review the classification of marijuana under federal drug laws in an expedited manner.

“The federal government currently classifies marijuana as a ‘schedule one’ substance, the same as heroin and LSD—and more serious than fentanyl,” Biden said. “It makes no sense.” 

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