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Pardoning Marijuana Offenses Calls for Review of Federal Law

On October 6, 2022, President Biden issued a proclamation pardoning US citizens and residents who had been convicted of simple possession of marijuana. This action was widely reported, along with the President’s recommendations that governors follow his lead for people convicted of state offenses of possession.

In discussing the pardon, Biden emphasized that essential injustice of sending people to prison for actions that are permitted in other states, as well as the disproportionate sentencing experienced by many people of color. Writing for POLITICO, Eugene Daniel and Natalie Fertig point out that the pardon, unexpected by many, will have limited effect , since “Most people in federal prison for cannabis offenses are not in prison for minor, nonviolent offenses.” In addition, they report, since marijuana will remain on the federal drug schedule, people will continue to face criminal charges related to marijuana, cannabis research will continue to be inhibited, and state-level markets will remain at odds with federal law.

Source: Daniels, E., & Fertig, N. (2022, October 6). Biden pardons Marijuana Offenses, calls for review of Federal Law. POLITICO.