President Joe Biden has announced plans to pardon Americans with federal simple marijuana possession convictions and order top officials to review the scheduling of cannabis.
In a series of tweets, the president said he would also call on state governors to pardon simple marijuana possession offenses.
“Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives – for conduct that is legal in many states,” Biden said. “That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.”
Biden asked Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, to initiate a review process for the classification of cannabis, which is listed as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin. Biden noted cannabis has a more severe schedule than fentanyl.
The president also pointed to a need to address regulations in related arenas.
“I’d also like to note that as federal and state regulations change, we still need important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales of marijuana,” he said.