The move fulfills a campaign promise Biden made to overturn all previous federal possession convictions and will affect thousands of Americans charged with the crime, according to senior administration officials.
President Biden notes how the law unfairly affects blacks despite similar usage rates among whites
In a speech announcing the executive action, Biden noted that marijuana is already legal in many states and noted that “criminal records for marijuana possession have created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities.”
“No one should be in prison just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said. “It’s legal in many states, and criminal convictions for marijuana possession have created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities.
The president also spoke about the racial differences when it comes to marijuana possession charges, adding that “black people and brown people will be arrested … and sentenced to disproportionate rates.”
“And that’s before you address the racial differences as to who suffers the consequences. While whites and blacks and browns use marijuana at similar rates, blacks and browns are arrested, prosecuted and convicted at disproportionately high rates.”
In April, the House of Representatives officially passed the MORE Act, which would legalize marijuana nationwide. The shadow room previously reported.
The bill eliminates criminal penalties for anyone who manufactures, distributes or possesses the substance. According to CNN, the bill was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York. In addition to decriminalization, it will prevent federal agencies from denying federal employees security clearances for cannabis use.
Biden encourages state governors to follow the federal government’s example and puts the attorney general in charge of reviewing the classification
Biden went on to encourage governors to follow suit and similarly pardon simple marijuana possession charges, which would increase the number of Americans affected by such crimes.
The Department of Health and Human Services and Attorney General Merrick Garland will be tasked with “quickly” reviewing how the drug is scheduled under federal law to relax federal classification standards.
Marijuana is currently in the same category as much harder drugs like heroin and LSD.
Biden’s announcement comes just a month before the crucial midterm elections in November that will determine who will control Congress.
Legalization of marijuana a key issue in swing districts across the country ahead of midterm elections
Several candidates running for a seat in the US Senate – namely Lt. gov. John Fetterman of the Pennsylvania Democrats — have focused much of their campaigns on the issue of marijuana legalization.
Fetterman and Biden actually met last month, with the candidate previously saying he would raise the issue with the president.
Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to balance their progressive values and dismiss accusations of indulging in crime, which remains a major problem in certain swing districts.
https://theshaderoom.com/breaking-president-joe-biden-pardons-all-federal-offenses-of-simple-marijuana-possession-in-first-step-toward-nationwide-decriminalization/ Biden pardons state marijuana possession offenses