President Joe Biden announced Thursday in a statement to the press that he plans to pardon all federal arrests for simple marijuana possession nationwide.
The move fulfills one of his 2020 campaign promises aimed at loosening federal restrictions on a substance that has already been legalized in many of the 50 states.
"No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana," Biden wrote. "Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit."
"Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities," the President added.
Biden's official statement announced a three-step plan for loosening marijuana regulations at the federal level. The pardons are step one.
Step 2 finds Biden "urging all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses. Just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either."
Step 3 will involve reclassifying marijuana in the drug hierarchy if Biden has his way.
"Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances," Biden wrote. "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."
Biden concluded by formally stating he believes the war on drugs, as far as marijuana has been concerned, has been misguided.
"Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs," Biden wrote.
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