WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Joe Biden announced executive action to address the country’s failed approach to marijuana with a pardon of all federally-prosecuted persons for misdemeanor marijuana crimes.
According to the White House, President Biden will accomplish this in three steps:
One, the President is pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. This pardon applies to all persons convicted of simple possession of marijuana under District of Columbia law as well.
There are thousands of people with prior federal convictions for marijuana possession who may be denied housing, employment, or educational opportunities as a result. This pardon will help relieve those collateral consequences.
The President has directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process to issue certificates of pardon to eligible individuals.
Second, the President is urging all governors to do the same with regard to state offenses of simple 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 a state prison for that reason either.
Third, the President is asking the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act as the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and it’s even higher than the classification for fentanyl and methamphetamine — the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic.
And the President will make clear today that even as federal and state marijuana law changes, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales should stay in place.