Washington, D.C. - President Joe Biden is taking steps to address racial disparities in the justice system by pardoning individuals convicted of marijuana use and simple possession on federal lands and in the District of Columbia. In addition, he is granting clemency to individuals serving disproportionately long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
Biden's latest round of executive clemencies aims to remove unnecessary barriers to employment, housing, and education that criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed. Recognizing the detrimental impact of failed marijuana policies, Biden expressed his commitment to rectify these wrongs and make equal justice a reality.
The categorical pardon announced on Friday comes after a similar pardon issued just before the 2022 midterm elections. The previous pardon made thousands of individuals convicted of simple possession on federal lands eligible for pardons, and the White House expects thousands more to be eligible under the latest action.
In addition to his executive actions, President Biden called upon governors and local leaders to follow suit and take measures to expunge marijuana convictions. He emphasized that just as no one should be imprisoned at the federal level for marijuana offenses, the same principle should apply at the local and state level.
President Biden's pardons mark a significant step towards rectifying racial disparities in the justice system and addressing the long-lasting impacts of failed marijuana policies. By removing unnecessary obstacles and offering second chances, these actions aim to create a fairer and more equitable society for all.