After President Joe Biden on Oct. 6 announced his decision to pardon every person who was convicted of possessing marijuana on a federal level or in the District of Columbia, some lawmakers are applauding the move while some experts are more skeptical.
“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,” Biden said in a statement about the pardon.
The Biden administration said there are over 6,500 people with federal convictions from 1992 to 2021 and thousands of others with convictions under D.C. law.
Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor that can land a person up to one year in jail on the first offense, two years in jail on the second offense, and three years in jail for each subsequent offense. No people, however, are currently in federal prison solely for possession of marijuana, a Biden administration official told reporters on a call.
Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I is the highest classification, reserved for drugs that have “a high potential for abuse” and for which there is no accepted medical use, according to the Controlled Substance Act.
But a growing number of states have decriminalized marijuana possession and other marijuana-related offenses in recent years, and federal officials rarely bring federal charges against people who are violating federal…