Biden’s Marijuana Pardon Does Not Go Far Enough: The Case for LegalizationPosted by On


On October 6, 2022, President Joe Biden pardoned all US citizens convicted on federal charges for simple possession of marijuana. This action will provide over 6,500 Americans with easier access to housing, employment, college, and even voting, all of which are restricted for felons in certain states. As such, this pardon is a major step toward liberating the millions of Americans impacted by 50 years of harsh drug penalties.These policies specifically impact Black people, who have been targeted for marijuana possession at much higher rates than their white counterparts. Biden also encouraged governors to issue similar pardons for state convictions of simple marijuana possession. 

“The pardon is mostly performative unless it is followed by more impactful drug reform policies, including full federal marijuana legalization; pardons extending to more complex crimes; and regulations ensuring the marijuana industry is as profitable for people of color as it is for white people.”

Even if governors follow Biden’s lead, these pardons do not address the root causes of the issue. It does not change the fact that tens of thousands of people’s lives have already been impacted by marijuana criminalization, nor does it help many Americans convicted of crimes beyond simple possession. Furthermore, because the pardons only extend to people whose offenses occurred before October 6, Biden hasn’t prevented any future federal prosecution over marijuana. Thus, the pardon is…

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