Biden overhauls US policy on marijuana, pardons prior federal offenses

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WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Thursday took executive action to change US policy on marijuana, pardoning all previous federal crimes simple marijuana possession.
“There are thousands of people who have prior federal marijuana possession convictions who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result,” Biden said in a statement. “My action will help alleviate the collateral consequences stemming from these convictions.”
Biden’s actions deliver on a campaign promise and are likely to please members of his left-leaning political base ahead of the November midterm elections in which Biden’s fellow Democrats defend their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Biden said he had ordered the Attorney General merrick garland develop an “administrative process” to issue certificates of pardon to those who are eligible.
The president also said he was urging state governors to do the same.
“Just as no one should be in federal prison solely for possession of marijuana, no one should be in state or local jail for that reason either,” he said.
Biden said he was asking federal officials to start a process of reviewing how marijuana is “scheduled” or classified under federal law. It currently falls under the same classification as heroin and LSD and in a higher classification than fentanyl and methamphetamine, he said.
“Ultimately, even as federal and state regulation of marijuana changes, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and sales to minors must remain in place,” Biden said.
“Too many lives have been changed because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time we right these wrongs.”

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