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In a statement released from the White House on October 6, 2022, President Joe Biden announced plans to pardon Federal convictions for simple possession of marijuana and issued a call to review the scheduling of cannabis (1).
President Biden announced three steps as part of enacting this plan. “First, I am announcing a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. I have directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals,” said President Biden (1). “There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”
President Biden’s second step is to call on all US Governors to offer the same pardons for state-level offences regarding marijuana possession.
“Third, I am asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law,” said the President. “Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances. This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic.”
This monumental announcement has been a long time coming for many cannabis activists and advocates. As stated in an article from Marijuana Moment (2), it’s not clear how long this review process could take, but the call to review is a big first step.