In a surprising move Thursday, President Joe Biden announced he is pardoning all people with federal convictions for simple possession of marijuana.
The move has the potential to help more than 6,500 people currently incarcerated for marijuana possession at the federal level. And in his address Thursday, Biden called on governors across the U.S. to pardon those currently serving time over state-level offenses.
“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” Biden said in a statement. “It’s time that we right these wrongs.”
In a tweet, Biden called on the U.S. Attorney General to initiate the process of “reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”
Right now, marijuana is a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s classified alongside drugs like heroin and is scheduled above deadly drugs like fentanyl.
The U.S. Justice Department will issue certifications of pardoning to those who are eligible soon. Biden’s order only applies to federal convictions, though – it remains to be seen whether action will be taken in the Bluegrass State.
In a tweet on Thursday, Biden asked governors to consider taking similar steps. And in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear has the power to pardon those at the state level for marijuana possession…