WASHINGTON, D.C (WWLP) – President Joe Biden has granted a pardon to all people convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law, in what amounts to the most extensive White House action taken to date on U.S. drug policy.
This decision could have an impact on over 6,500 people with prior federal convictions for simple possession of marijuana. President Biden says that these convictions have lead to needless barriers and his administration wants to right this wrong.
“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said Thursday.
President Biden is taking on a three step process to end this “failed approach” that disproportionately impacts Black and Brown Communities. Step 1 is to take executive action to pardon thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession under federal law.
“It’s already legal in many states and criminal records for marijuana possession have lead to needless barriers to employment, to housing, and education opportunities. And, that’s before you address the racial disparities of who suffers the consequences,” Biden added.
In Step 2 Biden urges state governors to do the same for state marijuana possession offenses
because the majority of these crimes are prosecuted at the state level.
“The federal government currently classifies marijuana as a schedule one substance the same as heparin and LSD, and more serious than fentanyl. It makes no sense,” said Biden.
Biden hopes that with the attorney general, and the health and human services secretary they can initiate a process to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law and under the controlled substances act. This would be to determine whether or not it should remain a schedule one substance.
In Massachusetts the law permits you to carry up to one ounce of marijuana. And you can have up to 10 ounces in your home. For the commonwealth’s complete law on marijuana you can check out Chapter 94G on the Massachusetts Legislature website.