Biden pardons thousands convicted of federal marijuana charges

It’s a move that the president says helps to make equal justice a reality.

President Joe Biden is issuing pardons to thousands of individuals convicted of use and simple possession of marijuana on federal lands and in Washington D.C. 

Driving the news: The recent round of pardons builds upon a previous round issued before the 2022 midterm elections, expanding the criminal offenses covered.


  • Additionally, Biden is granting clemency to 11 individuals serving disproportionately long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
  • The pardons aim to alleviate obstacles to employment, housing, and educational opportunities imposed by criminal records for marijuana use and possession.
  • The criteria for pardons have been expanded to cover multiple criminal statutes, including attempted simple possession. 
  • The pardon only applies to marijuana convictions, as some states have decriminalized or legalized its use, but it remains a controlled substance at the federal level.
  • To benefit from the pardons, individuals must submit applications to the Justice Department’s pardon attorney office to receive certificates of pardon.

What they’re saying: Biden said in a statement that the pardons would help make the promise of equal justice a reality. 

  • “Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” Biden said. “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.”
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