The White House pardon for those charged with marijuana possession last week left Oregon advocates for drug policy reform hopeful for how this could change lives.
For Andy Ko, the executive director of Oregon’s Partnership for Safety and Justice, this change was decades overdue and signaled a significant change in the approach to decriminalizing drugs to come. In fact, the development made him cry with joy.
“It’s a big deal. It’s like the prison walls are crumbling,” he said.
President Joe Biden announced on Oct. 6 that he would grant a full pardon to all those convicted for the simple possession of marijuana, stating that “no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.” Officials stated that about 6,500 people were convicted of simple possession between 1992 and 2021.
He also urged states to follow suit, and recognize the racist implications marijuana charges have historically carried.
“While white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates,” Biden stated.
“Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.”
President Biden also announced that Attorney General Merrick Garland will evaluate the current federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug of the Controlled Substances…