Published on: Thursday, October 6, 2022

President Biden on Thursday pardoned all people convicted of marijuana possession under federal law and said his administration would review whether marijuana should still be a Schedule 1 drug like heroin and LSD, saying that “makes no sense” (article available here).

The pardons will clear about 6,500 people who were convicted on federal charges of simple possession of marijuana from 1992 to 2021 and thousands more who were convicted of possession in the District of Columbia.

Mr. Biden urged governors to follow his lead for people convicted on state charges of simple possession. The number of convictions under state laws vastly outnumbers those who have been charged with a violation of federal laws.

“Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives — for conduct that is legal in many states,” Mr. Biden said on Twitter on Thursday. “That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.”

Marijuana is already fully legal in about 20 states, and some other states have relaxed criminal penalties.

Proclamation available here.