In an unprecedented move, the President of the United States declared a sweeping pardon for citizens and lawful permanent residents who have faced federal repercussions for the personal use of marijuana. This executive action honors a pledge made during the presidential campaign, signaling a significant shift in the federal approach toward cannabis-related convictions.
The White House released an official proclamation on Friday, expanding last year’s clemency to encompass a broader range of marijuana-related offenses. This pardon extends to those apprehended for usage and possession under federal and the District of Columbia’s statutes. However, it explicitly excludes convictions for distribution and trafficking of the substance.
The exact number of individuals this pardon will impact remains unspecified by the administration. The overarching aim is to alleviate the long-term consequences that such charges have on accessing crucial societal opportunities, including employment and housing.
The President expressed a deep-seated conviction in the necessity to amend the consequences resulting from the nation’s previous stance on marijuana. He emphasized the imperative to remedy the historical injustices and the excessive hardships faced by those with such convictions on their records.
Simultaneously, the President called on state governors to enact corresponding pardons for state-level offenses, highlighting the autonomy of state law and the collective effort needed to address this nationwide issue comprehensively.
In a further display of commitment to reform, the President also announced the commutation of sentences for 11 individuals convicted of non-violent drug offenses, some of whom were serving life sentences. This follows a similar action carried out in April and aligns with the administration’s values promoting rehabilitation and redemption.
In a related development, federal authorities have initiated a process to reassess the classification of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. The proposed reclassification by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests shifting marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III, reflecting a potentially transformative view on the drug’s medical applicability and abuse risk.