Biden pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession

President Biden will pardon all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, the White House said Thursday.

The move applies to those convicted of simple possession of marijuana, including those in the District of Columbia, according to senior officials. 

“As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden tweeted Thursday. “Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives — for conduct that is legal in many states. That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.”

President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, delivers remarks on Hurricane Fiona in Ponce, Puerto Rico. On Thursday, he announced that he will pardon thousands of those convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law.

In addition to the pardons, Biden urged governors to follow suit regarding state marijuana offenses and instructed Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to begin reviewing how marijuana is classified under federal drug laws.


“The federal government currently classifies marijuana as a “schedule one” substance, the same as heroin and LSD – and more serious than fentanyl,” said Biden. “It makes no sense.”

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