President Biden Pardons Marijuana Possession Charges

Thousands freed from prisons across the U.S

Carl Harding, Sandscript Writer


In a recent statement on October 6, United States President Joe Biden issued pardons to thousands of people who had been previously charged with possessing or using marijuana at the federal level. The president and his administration is also taking steps to overhaul the policy of marijuana use in the United States and is looking to reclassify the drug. Currently, many believe it is miscategorized, as it falls in the same category with LSD and heroin. Due to these pardons, more than 6,500 people previously charged with either marijuana possession or marijuana use are expected to be released from prison. The president made a post on Twitter stating:  

This comes as many states across the U.S have been taking another look at the drug and its legalization, as nearly 40 states across the country have legalized marijuana in some way. Some have legalized only for medical use, while other states have legalized for both medical and ‘adult’, or recreational use. Reclassifying the drug would be one of the first steps to wider legalization, especially in the ten states where the drug is still illegal. The battle to legalize marijuana in all of the states has been going on for decades with some progress being made especially in the last decade. 


This recent news has been met with positivity from people across the country especially civil rights groups. One reason for this is due to the disproportionate number of black men who have been arrested for using marijuana compared to white men. President of the National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton was happy to see this change as it could help decrease the unfair amount of arrests made on black men for simply possessing the drug.

 Even with the amount of positivity coming from this news, there are also some caveats that come along with the decision, as not everyone will be pardoned. President Biden is pardoning those with a marujana charge at the federal level, not at the state level meaning thousands will still have to sit in prison as the president does not have the power to pardon those with state level charges. This also applies to undocumented immigrants that live in the United States who have been charged, people who are charged at the federal level in the future until the changes happen, and people who have been charged with possession with intent to distribute and other more severe charges involving marijuana. 

The news has also been met with criticism, mostly from Republicans who believe that this is a bad idea as crime in the U.S is at an all time high and the U.S economy is not doing very well. Democrats have responded to this with the idea that these changes will help many Americans who have been negatively impacted by these charges, and it is a major step in advancing criminal and racial justice. 

There are many items on the agenda when it comes to legalizing marijuana, but the future looks bright for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned for using a drug that is slowly beginning to be legalized across the country.