President Biden Issues Additional Cannabis Pardons

President Joe Biden has issued additional pardons for simple cannabis possession and use but once again stopped short of granting clemency to any prisoners currently serving time for cannabis-related convictions.

Full story after the jump.

In an expansion of last year’s sweeping federal pardons for cannabis possession, President Joe Biden (D) on Friday issued additional pardons for thousands of individuals convicted of simple cannabis use and possession on federal lands and in Washington D.C., the Associated Press reports.

The White House announced on Friday that the president was also granting clemency to 11 people serving “disproportionately long” prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. But, while the pardons represent a symbolic shift in the federal government’s approach to cannabis convictions, the president’s cannabis pardons – both those recently announced and those carried out last year – will not result in the release of any prisoners currently serving time for cannabis-related sentences. Rather, the goal of the pardons is to prevent past cannabis convictions from hindering individuals’ efforts to find a job and/or acquire housing.

The president said that the pardons would help make the “promise of equal justice a reality,” the report said.

“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.” – President Joe Biden, via the AP

President Biden also reiterated his wishes for governors in the U.S. to nullify state cannabis convictions, stating, “Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the use or possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.”

Officially, cannabis remains federally prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I substance, which is reserved for substances that have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended in August that cannabis be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III.

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