Biden cancels federal marijuana convictions for nearly everyone

 December 23, 2023

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Joe Biden celebrated the 2023 Christmas holiday on Friday by issuing a blanket pardon – nationwide – for any American "arrested, prosecuted, or convicted on federal charges for marijuana use."

report from the Washington Examiner explained Biden's proclamation "forgives U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents caught by law enforcement for possessing the drug and charged, going far beyond the sweeping actions he took last year for thousands of people convicted of possession."

In a statement, he pointed out that a year ago he granted pardons for "the offense of simply possession of marijuana."

This year his pardon excluded "individuals who were non-citizens not lawfully present in the United States at the time of their offense."

He said, "I am pardoning additional individuals who may continue to experience the unnecessary collateral consequences of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana, attempted simple possession of marijuana, or use of marijuana. Therefore, acting pursuant to the grant of authority in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States, I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., do hereby grant a full, complete, and unconditional pardon to all current United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who, on or before the date of this proclamation, committed or were convicted of the offense of simple possession of marijuana, attempted simple possession of marijuana, or use of marijuana, regardless of whether they have been charged with or prosecuted for these offenses on or before the date of this proclamation…"

He said his intent is that the attorney general and appointees will "review all properly submitted applications for certificates of pardon and shall issue such certificates of pardon to eligible applicants in due course."

Biden declined to offer an assessment of how many people would be involved.

But he said it was all part of his goal for employment and housing.

"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."

Convictions under state laws were not affected by Biden's decision.

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