DALLAS — President Joe Biden pardoned federal marijuana possession convictions in early October, asking state governors to do the same. Where did that leave the hundreds of Texans imprisoned on state marijuana possession charges?
Still behind bars. In fact, the White House said no one is in federal prison on marijuana possession charges.
“These cases tend to be overwhelmingly filed in state courts,” North Texas criminal defense attorney Benson Varghese said.
Texas arrests the most people of any state for marijuana possession even though only a small percentage of those arrested end up in prison. However, both convictions and arrests can have life-long ramifications especially for people of color and young people who experience arrests at higher rates in a state where most people — including the governor — think marijuana should be decriminalized to some degree.
As of Oct. 21, 265 people are serving prison time in Texas on state marijuana possession charges, according to data provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
This figure represents people imprisoned only on possession charges and not concurrent charges of other types of crime. It also does not include people serving jail sentences for misdemeanor charges in county jails.
According to the Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, over…