USA: Biden pledges amnesty for marijuana

Status: 07.10.2022 00:24

US President Biden wants to decriminalize possession of marijuana and promises a pardon for the crime at the federal level. Most of the convictions, however, are at the US state level.

About a month before the so-called midterm in the United States, President Joe Biden wants to partially implement one of his campaign promises: the easing of drug policy regarding marijuana.

As announced by the White House, Biden wants to seek pardons from all citizens who have been federally convicted for mere possession of marijuana. The prerequisite, however, is that those affected have not been convicted of other drug-related offenses.

“As I said earlier, no one should be in prison solely for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden tweeted. The president then said:

Sending people to jail for marijuana possession has upset too many lives and put people in jail for behaviors that many states no longer prohibit.

A criminal record for marijuana possession would have made it difficult for many people to access housing, employment or educational opportunities. Biden also criticized the fact that African Americans and other minorities have been disproportionately affected by such beliefs compared to whites.

Thousands with a criminal record

According to White House data, between 1992 and 2021, some 6,500 people were convicted of federal possession of marijuana in the United States. No one is currently being held in federal prison for such a crime.

There are far more convictions for marijuana possession in state-level cases. However, Biden’s decree would not apply to them. The President then called on state governors to follow his example. In many states of the United States the cultivation of marijuana is already legal, both for medical purposes, but in many cases to some extent also for private consumption.

Like heroin

But Biden also wants a general relaxation of the criminal law on marijuana. Currently, the drug is legally equivalent to heroin or LSD at the federal level in the United States. Biden has ordered the justice and health departments to review that classification and expedite a more lenient legal assessment.

US drug policy: President Biden wants to decriminalize possession of cannabis

Florian Mayer, ARD Washington, 7.10.2022 00:39

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