Biden expands marijuana pardons, commutes sentences of 11 others serving long drug sentences

Biden expands marijuana pardons, commutes sentences of 11 others serving long drug sentences

Criminal Justice

Biden expands marijuana pardons, commutes sentences of 11 others serving long drug sentences

gavel and marijuana leaf

President Joe Biden on Friday expanded the types of marijuana offenses for which he is granting pardons. Image from Shutterstock.

President Joe Biden on Friday expanded the types of marijuana offenses for which he is granting pardons.

On Oct. 6, 2022, Biden granted pardons to people convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal or Washington, D.C., laws on or before that date.

On Friday, Biden pardoned simple marijuana offenses committed on or before Dec. 22, 2023. He also granted pardons for additional offenses under federal and D.C. law involving simple marijuana possession, attempted possession and use, according to an FAQ page by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney.

Biden’s proclamation is here; his statement is here; and a statement by Vice President Kamala Harris is here.

The pardons cover U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. residents. They do not cover marijuana offenses of conspiracy, possession and possession with intent to distribute. Nor do they cover driving while under the influence of marijuana or possession of marijuana in a correctional facility.

Those seeking the pardons will have to submit applications to the DOJ’s pardon attorney.

Biden said in his statement Friday he is also commuting the sentences of 11 people who are “serving disproportionately long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. All of them would have been eligible to receive significantly lower sentences if they were charged with the same offense today.”

Publications covering the announcement include Axios and USA Today.

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