The president Biden made a dramatic move in October. 6 to change the U.S. marijuana policy, taking action on a promise to change the policy he made during the presidential race two years back.
The first was that Biden granted pardons to all those who were convicted of possession of marijuana under the federal law from 1992 to 2021. This move will affect at the very least 6,500 males and women as well as several thousands more living within the District of Columbia. Then, he announced that the administration is reviewing whether marijuana needs to be classified to ensure that it’s not within the exact same Schedule 1 drug class like heroin and LSD.
Although many states have legalized recreational or medical marijuana, it remains illegal on a federal scale. Legalization at the national level or complete the decriminalization of marijuana would require the intervention of Congress -in addition, Biden isn’t going to say that he supports anything other than changing marijuana possession into as a less severe crime.
However, the executive action moves the federal government toward the direction of states which have legalized marijuana and have eliminated or decreased the penalties for mere possession.
“Too numerous lives were ruined due to our flawed policy on the use of marijuana” He said. “It’s the time to right this wrong.”
What is a Pardon?
Criminal charges for marijuana possession create “needless obstacles” in the way of work, housing as well as educational possibilities, Biden said. However, pardons won’t remove the slate from those with marijuana convictions on their criminal records.
As per the Justice Department, however, Pardons can be helpful in getting rid of “legal impairments” due to an indictment, and “should reduce to a certain extent the stigma” of many who have convictions in their record face.
DOJ states that those who receive pardons must have to reveal previous convictions in any way which requires this information. But, they can also declare that they were granted pardons.
The process of erasing criminal records requires an expungement process, which is a court-ordered procedure.
DOJ advises that people who want to get rid of federal marijuana possession crime need to seek out the district court of federal jurisdiction in which they were found guilty. States offer different procedures to people wanting expungements. If you’re trying to get rid of a conviction that is state-wide, DOJ suggests contacting the office of the governor or attorney general for the state in which you live for assistance.
The Order doesn’t affect those in State Prisons
It’s crucial to note that pardons are mainly granted to those who have been imprisoned on federal pot possession convictions. There are a small number of individuals that are in jail will get their liberation.
As per the United States Sentencing Commission, there were only 149 inmates being held in federal prisons for the just possession of marijuana as of 2021. That’s a reduction by more than 2,000 since 2015.
While numbers can be difficult to obtain, more people are being sentenced to being in state prisons that aren’t directly affected by pardons. Biden encourages governors of these states to join by releasing pardons.
Biden’s pardons will be given by an administrative process that is that is overseen by the Justice Department. People who are eligible for pardons will be issued a letter stating which states that they have been granted forgiveness for the offense.
What is the potential impact?
Biden’s pardon is remarkably broad. However, the most significant impact could be in the way it communicates. It’s the most important decision a president ever done to ease the federal laws on marijuana.
The midterm elections are just two weeks from now Some Republicans have criticized the decision as a compromise on crime. Others argued that it was an attempt to attract younger voters to vote and, most likely, voting Democratic.
At a moment when nearly two-thirds of Americans consider that cannabis should be legalized Biden’s action could also be an acknowledgement that marijuana laws in the federal government should align with the beliefs of Americans consider to be their beliefs.
If Congress will act, it is an issue that will be discussed in the coming days.
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