On Thursday, October 5th of 2022, President Biden took executive action and pardoned all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. He is also asking the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Attorney General, to “expeditiously” review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law, which is currently as a Schedule 1 Substance.
On Twitter he announced “As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach. Allow me to lay them out:
First: I’m pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. There are thousands of people who were previously convicted of simple possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My pardon will remove this burden.
Second: I’m calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses. Just as no one should be in federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.
Third: We classify marijuana at the same level as heroin— and more seriously than fentanyl. It makes no sense. I’m asking @Secbecerra and the Attorney General to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.
Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives— for conduct that is legal in many states. That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.”
State law is independent of federal law, but Biden is also reaching out to state governors, and requesting that they make this change as well. This is a huge step towards decriminalizing cannabis on both a federal and state-wide level, re-scheduling how marijuana is classified, and ending the drug war.