THE SOURCE LAW REVIEW: Biden Pardons All Federal Offenses of Simple Marijuana Possession in First Major Steps Toward Decriminalization

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Biden, President Joe Biden on Thursday pardoned thousands of those found guilty of possession of marijuana.

Pardons are only available to federal offenders found guilty for “simple marijuana possession” as and those who are who are charged with marijuana possession in the District of Columbia, but Biden has urged governors from across the country to adopt the same policy. Pardons are an indication of the president’s forgiveness and is typically granted to acknowledge the individual’s acceptance of the accountability for the crime and good conduct for a considerable amount of time following the conviction or upon completion of the sentence. It doesn’t mean innocence. The pardons cannot be granted to people who aren’t U.S. citizens and were unlawfully in the country at the time of their arrest.

Biden’s administration has confirmed that around 6,500 of those convicted of just possession with marijuana between 1992 through 2021 will be granted pardons. “As I’ve previously stated that no one should be locked up for just having or using marijuana. In the present, I’m taking action to stop our failed policy,” Biden’s official Twitter account said. “We place marijuana on exactly the same scale as heroin and more dangerous than Fentanyl. It makes no sense.”


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Additionally, the pardons were announced. Biden said he’s directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to start reviewing the way in which marijuana is classified under federal laws on drugs. The federal law on drugs says that the use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs is a violation of federal law. There are strict penalties for those who are convicted of drug crimes, including mandatory prison sentences for a variety of offences. The penalties are increased significantly when the using illegal drugs causes fatal bodily harm or death.

Then, in the closing of this POTUS Twitter discussion, Biden added, “Sending people in jail for possession of marijuana has caused a lot of disruption in lives – and this is for a crime that is legal in several states. And that’s not even addressing the obvious racial disparities in the process of prosecution and conviction. Today, we are beginning to address these issues.”

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