CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – President Biden has granted a pardon to all people convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law.
In a move he says will address racial disparities, President Biden announced that those convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law would be pardoned. Supporters of the decision say these convictions have been a greater burden in minority communities.
President Joe Biden says, “It’s already legal in many states and criminal records for marijuana possession have to lead to needless barriers to employment, to housing education opportunities.”
A simple possession conviction means the individual had a small amount of this illegal substance and that they had no intent to sell or distribute it.
“Anybody who has had some type of legal intervention in the past will be able to be obsolved of that going forward. The interesting this is for some people might have multiple offenses on their record.. so this is just one piece of it.”
Attorney Winston from a legal stand point said a conviction on your record can become a significant obstacle. President Biden also called on governors to grant similar policies.
Recreation Marijuana is already legal in the Commonwealth, but the ACLU of Massachusetts thinks the state needs to do more.
In a statement, the executive director said in part, “Massachusetts should be looking beyond marijuana convictions to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs more generally,” and went on to say that clemency powers should be used to prioritize harm reduction overcriminalization.
According to a press release, Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni said, “Direction and encouragement for record expungement and sealing is something my office has presented to audiences for years, including people with convictions from minor marijuana offenses. I support President Biden’s step to pardon these offenses at the federal level and, moreover, his encouragement of governors to do the same at the state level. I believe in second chances for those who have paid their debt and moved on, especially considering how simple marijuana possession is now legal. Removing these minor charges from people’s records could break down barriers for them as they seek to contribute to society and support their families, including seeking employment or financial aid for school.”