President Biden ‘pardons’ marijuana possession convictions

4 mins
07 Oct 2022
President Biden ‘pardons’ marijuana possession convictions

The news will potentially benefit thousands of people right away!

image Bill Clark / Getty

words Rhys Thomas

Yesterday at 3:00pm Washington time, President Joe Biden announced a series of measures he will begin to take in order to ensure people who have been charged with marijuana are pardoned. Meaning, people will be relieved of the illegal consequences of carrying weed. “As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.” Biden started the Twitter thread.

The 46th POTUS went on to highlight that thousands of people who have been previously convicted of possession would have faced consequences including being denied employment, housing and education. Biden doesn’t feel that is fair. Officials estimate the change should affect as many as 6,500 people, and of course prevent any more charges in future.

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

Steps Mr President is taking to pardon the people include asking the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, to review how marijuana is “scheduled” under federal law. Suggesting Biden feels weed should be classed as a less illegal substance than drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, which it currently isn’t.

Biden is also going to be “calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offences. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison.” he wrote. At the time of writing, nobody is known to be in federal prison for purely cannabis possession, but many are in state prisons. Biden also highlighted that Black people are disproportionately targeted with possession charges, and therefore the pardon should help Black people especially.

In the USA, 19 states have already legalised the recreational use of cannabis, while two others have decriminalised it. The difference being, you won’t face criminal charges if it’s decriminalised but you will also be breaking the law, whereas in legalised means it’s legal in more or less the same way vaping is.

you are missing out on some content here because you rejected our cookies. want to change that?

Finally, Biden said that despite these changes for individuals who like to use THC, generally America will "still need important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales of marijuana.” The legal age in the States is 21. Legalisation has become more and more of a trend across the globe in recent years. Thailand, Malta, Mexico, have all legalised cannabis possession in the last two years.

The first country to legalise weed was Uruguay, back in 2012. While each state and country legalising the drug has its own reasons, generally the softening of laws around getting baked are because Governments know a lot of people use it, and therefore feel they should regulate it (which is easier to do if it is legal). Other places might see it as a good and relatively harmless income stream, and others might be keen to allow their population the choice to see whether they want to use the drug, which has been linked with a variety of health benefits as well as risks, or not.

In the United Kingdom, marijuana is a Class B drug, which means it’s illegal to possess, distribute, or sell. Possession “can get you up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both,” according to drugs information website Frank. Here, opinion on legalisation is still heavily debated.

Some people are all for it, others think it should be a Class A drug like heroin and cocaine. Sadiq Khan has decided to make a commission on whether to legalise cannabis or not. The Mayor entertains the idea of legalising weed more than most British politicians. Both the leaders of the Labour Party and the Conservatives are against cannabis legalisation at this moment in time. Medical cannabis use has been legalised since November 2018.

So yeah, even more of a chance to relax while smoking up!

more stories

keep reading