Sunday, July 21, 2024

Biden Pardons Everyone Convicted Of Marijuana Possession

President Joe Biden today pardoned everyone who has been convicted of marijuana possession. The pardon only applies to those convicted of federal crimes but Biden urged governors to follow his lead on the state level.

From the Daily Caller:

President Joe Biden announced Thursday he was “pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession,” saying “no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.”

The president also called for governors to follow his lead and pardon “simple state marijuana possession,” and asked for a review on how marijuana is classified under federal law, arguing it makes “no sense” that the drug is on the same legal level as heroin.

How many people does this affect? Right now, there are no federal inmates in prison for simple marijuana possession. As Charles Fain Lehman of the Manhattan Institute points out on Twitter, not a whole lot of people have been prosecuted historically by the federal government for simple marijuana possession.

Instead, the big impact is Biden’s call to reschedule marijuana.

There is no doubt this action is legal by President Biden. The power to pardon is extremely broad and virtually unchallengeable in court.

The Controlled Substances Act gives the Biden administration the authority to reschedule marijuana.

Now there are important legal issues that have to be worked out. Chief among them is whether or not marijuana users can legally purchase a firearm for example.

There is also a political calculation in play. This is designed to energize turnout on the left and especially among young people. Will it work? We’ll see.

Is it a good idea? Personally, I think so. Marijuana has already been legalized and/or decriminalized in many states and the sky hasn’t fallen out. The American people increasingly support legalizing marijuana.

The number of people directly impacted by this is minimal so that should be kept in mind. But this could be a major step in changing the course of the War on Drugs.