Biden announces pardon of simple marijuana charges

Maggie Eubanks

President Biden took significant steps towards decriminalizing marijuana on Thursday when he pardoned thousands of individuals convicted of simple marijuana possession.

The pardon came after Biden and his cabinet talked for weeks on how to reform marijuana legislation, according to CNN.

Thousands of individuals will be freed from their charges after the announcement, but this pardon is only a first step for Biden.

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” Biden said. “It’s time that we right these wrongs.”

Biden first mentioned a reform to marijuana legislation when he was campaigning for President in 2020.

For Biden supporters, this comes as another check on the list for fulfilled campaign promises. But for those in opposition, this is more proof of the Democrat’s lax view on crime.

“In the midst of a crime wave and on the brink of a recession, Joe Biden is giving blanket pardons to drug offenders—many of whom pled down from more serious charges,” Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas said.

During his address to the nation, Biden called on state governors to follow his lead and pardon those that have been convicted under state laws. With Biden’s pardon, only about 6,500 people will be pardoned, but if governors followed through with Biden’s call to action, more than 700,000 people could be pardoned.

This move would be seen as a step in the right direction to many who have been fighting for marijuana legalization.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said, “All those individuals who have been charged with marijuana crimes need to be pardoned, particularly those in states that have legalized marijuana.” Each pardon is in the process of becoming official, and the federal government has begun to look at more ways to reform marijuana legislation.