President Joe Biden will pardon all prior federal offences of simple possession of marijuana, he announced on Thursday.
The president is also calling on governors to pardon state marijuana offences. He will also ask the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the attorney general to review how the drug is scheduled under current federal law.
The forthcoming pardons are set to clear the convictions of some 6,500 people who had federal charges of simple possession of marijuana from 1992 to 2021, officials said. Thousands more who were convicted in the District of Columbia will also be pardoned.
“Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” Biden said in a statement. “And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”