President Joe Biden announced that he will pardoning thousands of people who had prior federal convictions for possessing marijuana.
Biden released a statement today on the controversial move. He said that law forbidding the use of marijuana “has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit.”
He went on to say that “Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”
He announced that he will be releasing countless individuals who possessed marijuana illegally. “I am announcing a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. I have directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals. There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result.”
The president called for state governors to do the same. He said that people should not be in jail or state prison for that reason. Biden also directed his administration to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.
The question remains, however, how will this affect other crime?