US: Biden promises marijuana amnesty

Status: 07.10.2022 00:24

US President Biden wants to decriminalize marijuana possession — and promises pardon for such a crime at the federal level. However, most convictions are at the US state level.

About a month before the so-called midterms in the US, President Joe Biden wants to partially deliver on one of his campaign promises: the easing of drug policy on marijuana.

As the White House has announced, Biden wants to enforce a pardon for all those citizens convicted at the federal level for simple marijuana possession. However, the condition is that those affected have not been convicted of other drug-related crimes.

“As I said before, no one should be in prison just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden wrote on Twitter. The president later stated:

Sending people to jail for marijuana possession has turned too many lives upside down and landed people in jail for behavior that many states no longer prohibit.

A criminal record for marijuana possession would have made it difficult for many people to access housing, employment, or educational opportunities. Biden also criticized that African Americans and other minorities were disproportionately affected by such convictions compared to whites.

Thousands with criminal records

According to White House figures, about 6,500 people were convicted of federal marijuana possession in the United States between 1992 and 2021. No one is currently being held in a federal prison for such a crime.

There are many more convictions for marijuana possession in state-level cases. However, Biden’s decree would not apply to them. The president therefore appealed to state governors to follow suit. In many US states, growing marijuana is already legal, either for medical purposes, but in many cases for private use to some degree.

On par with heroin

But Biden also wants a general relaxation of the criminal law on marijuana. Currently, the drug is legally equivalent to heroin or LSD at the federal level in the United States. Biden instructed both the Justice Department and the Department of Health to review that classification and expedite a lenient legal review.

US Drug Policy: President Biden Wants to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession

Florian Mayer, ARD Washington, 7.10.2022 00:39 hrs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *