Biden Announces Mass Pardons


President Joe Biden declared on Thursday afternoon that he will pardon everyone charged with and found guilty of federal marijuana simple possession offenses.

“As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Today, I am announcing three steps that I am taking to end this failed approach.”

In addition to granting the pardons, Biden has called on Congress and state legislatures to reconsider federal laws that punish people for possessing or using marijuana. The duty of assessing eligibility has been given to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“I am announcing a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. I am asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances. This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic.”

He further stated, “I am urging all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses. Just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.”