Biden Issues More Pardons

December 29, 2023 · MG Magazine

Saying “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” President Joe Biden in December expanded his federal pardons program to sweep in all United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have used or possessed cannabis illegally, even if they’ve never been arrested or charged with a crime. The directive also extends to people convicted of minor offenses on federal property.

The new pardons apply only to federal and District of Columbia infractions. They do not apply to other federal cannabis crimes, including sales and driving under the influence. The pardons also do not extend to state crimes or to persons in the country illegally.

The clemency proclamation was the second signed by the president in little more than a year. In October 2022, Biden issued pardons to those federally convicted of simple possession and prohibited all future federal prosecutions for cannabis possession.

As he did when announcing the initial proclamation, Biden again urged governors to follow his lead and pardon state offenses.

“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” the president’s signing statement said. “It’s time that we right these wrongs.”

Individuals who need proof of a federal pardon to obtain housing, employment, education, or for other reasons must apply to the Department of Justice for a certificate.

At the same time he issued the new directive, Biden also commuted the sentences of eleven people of color he said were “serving disproportionately long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses” that would have netted them shorter sentences today. Their sentences, stretching back as far as 1998, ranged from fifteen years to life without parole for distribution or conspiracy to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine or cocaine and/or cocaine derivatives. All the sentences, except one, will expire by April 2024. The Missouri resident sentenced to life without parole for distribution of crack cocaine will be released in 2036.

The pardons and commutations are part of a larger effort to make good on a campaign promise from 2020, when then-candidate Biden vowed to “use the president’s clemency power to secure the release of individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain nonviolent and drug crimes.” (Full Story)

In category:Politics
Next Post

South Dakota Officials Clear Marijuana Legalization Campaign To Launch Paid Signature Drive For 2024 Ballot Initiative

South Dakota officials have cleared the way for paid circulators to start collecting signatures for a 2024 marijuana legalization ballot initiative as the activist-led campaign continues to evaluate next steps. Late last month, the secretary of state’s office approved a…
Previous Post

Biden Is Too Old To Grasp The Need To Legalize Marijuana, Challenger Dean Phillips Says

Dean Phillips, the Minnesota congressman challenging Joe Biden in the Democratic primary, said in a newly published interview that the president is too old and out of touch to understand contemporary cannabis issues. “I think it’s generational,” Phillips said. “People…
Random Post

Virginia Legislature’s changeover spurs hopes for adult-use marijuana sales

When Democrats officially retake full control of the Virginia General Assembly in January, newly sworn-in lawmakers will take with them to Richmond renewed hopes the first state in the South to legalize marijuana possession can finally launch an adult-use market…
Random Post

The Newest NYC Dispensary Is a Women-Owned White-Glove Experience

After perhaps too long, recreational weed was finally made legal across New York State in March 2021. Since then, New York City has slowly rolled out four legal dispensaries—each operated by individuals or organizations selected for their charitable missions and goals to promote…
Random Post

Drew Barrymore Named Best Host by MTV for Her Daytime Show

Drew Barrymore won the Best Host trophy at the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards on May 7. The CelebStoner has helmed The Drew Barrymore Show on CBS for the last three years. "Thank you for letting me in," she said in her video acceptance…
Random Post

Jesse Ventura cheers pot legalization: ‘Jimi Hendrix is looking down on Minnesota smiling’

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) says Jimi Hendrix would be high on the North Star State officially legalizing recreational marijuana. Minnesota on Tuesday became the 23rd state to legalize weed for recreational purposes, as Gov. Tim Walz (D) put his signature on…