US President, Joe Biden on Thursday, October 6, announced a pardon for all Americans convicted of marijuana possession under federal laws, meeting a longtime demand of Democrats a month away from the US midterm congressional elections, Charmingpro reports.
“I am announcing a pardon of all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana,” Biden said in a statement issued both in writing and by video message.
“As I often said during my campaign for president, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit,” Biden said.
Officials told reporters that only about 6,500 people are directly affected by convictions under federal marijuana statutes. However, Biden’s gesture aims to take the shift much further, with encouragement to state authorities to follow suit, while also looking at reclassifying marijuana as a less serious controlled substance.
He urged governors to extend the clemency to people who have been imprisoned by state laws criminalizing marijuana possession.
“I am urging all governors to do the same with regard to state offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either,” Biden said.