Biden fulfills a campaign pledge and begins the process of potentially loosening the federal classification of the drug. Biden, on Oct. 6, pardoned all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, a move that will affect thousands of Americans charged with that crime.

This announcement comes a month ahead of the November elections that will determine the control of Congress. During the announcement, Biden also encouraged governors to take similar steps to pardon state simple marijuana possession charges, which would affect thousands more if followed. 

The President has tasked the Department of Health and Human Services & Attorney General Merrick Garland to “expeditiously” review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law, the first step toward potentially easing a federal classification.

“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said “It’s legal in many states, and criminal records for marijuana possession have led to needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And that’s before you address the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences…”

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs,” the President said.

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