President Joe Biden issued a proclamation today expanding a marijuana pardon initiative he began last year by including for the first time people who committed cannabis possession offenses on federal properties, as stated by Marijuana Moment.
The pardon applies to all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in possession of marijuana for their personal use as well as those convicted of similar federal crimes, according to USA Today. It also forgives cannabis users in the District of Columbia.
However, it does not apply to individuals who have been jailed for selling the drug, which is illegal under federal law, or other marijuana offenses such as driving under the influence of an illegal substance.
Righting the Wrongs of Marijuana Use
“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” Biden said in a statement. “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.”
“Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the use or possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either,” the president continued. “That’s why I continue to urge governors to do the same with regard to state offenses and applaud those who have since taken action.”
President Biden issued a similar pardon last year and promised future reforms. This year’s proclamation went further in that it forgave all instances of simple marijuana use or possession under federal law, including for individuals who have never been charged, as stated by USA Today.