Biden’s administration confirmed that approximately 6,500 people convicted of simple possession of marijuana from 1992 to 2021 would be pardoned. Thousands of others who received the same conviction in the District of Columbia will also receive pardons, with officials adding that Biden will encourage governors across the country to allow pardons for those convicted on state charges. In addition, his administration plans to review whether marijuana should still be considered a Class 1 drug, similar to harder substances like LSD and heroin.
“As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach,” Biden’s official Twitter account wrote. “We classify marijuana at the same level as heroin—and more serious than fentanyl. It makes no sense."
Concluding the POTUS Twitter thread, Biden added, "Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives – for conduct that is legal in many states. That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs."
Despite legalization in various states, either medically or recreationally, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Biden stressed that “important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and under-age sales should stay in place.” His announcements stopped short of decriminalization, something he said his administration would pursue in February 2021.