President Biden’s Federal Pardon on Marijuana Possession or Use

President Biden has set his federal marijuana pardoning plan into action.

President Biden has set his federal marijuana pardoning plan into action.

On October 6th of 2022, President Biden pardoned anyone charged with federal possession or use of marijuana. The first step in a three-step process that Biden is taking to fix America’s approach to marijuana has already been completed: Biden has directed the Attorney General to create an administrative process for giving certificates of pardon to individuals who are eligible for them. The next steps are focused on Biden wanting governors to take the same action for state facilities, and finally, the initiation of a process to review the classification of marijuana under federal law. 

Marijuana is currently under classification with LSD and heroin in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This schedule is higher than fentanyl and methamphetamine. To put this into perspective, both drugs are contemporary influences in America’s overdose epidemic. I am happy that Biden decided to go with this action with marijuana. Biden did have the people in mind, even with a healthy amount of skepticism for the sincerity of anyone a part of the government. 

Biden’s speech on marijuana reform started with, “As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit.” I interpret these sentences to be genuine. This will mainly affect middle and working-class citizens. It influences those who don’t have enough money to get out – essentially, those who are burdened by capitalism. 

He goes on to say, “criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.” This is incredibly important because a drug record can take away important opportunities from people even if they have recovered and don’t use anymore. People can flourish and not be held down for the rest of their life due to possessing marijuana and going to a federal ‘rehabilitation’ facility.   

Further, he says “while white, black, and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.” White supremacy is in every institution in America and is inherent to America’s history. Biden shows empathy and compassion with this ending quote. Biden does care about marginalized groups, despite a lack of reparations for the black community. I consider this a big improvement from him saying “if you vote for Trump, you ain’t black” on the Breakfast Club to this. Someone from an incredibly influential place such as Biden not only needs to acknowledge disparities but also create solutions or contributions to positive change. I am excited to see action from Biden concerning helping marginalized groups. 

Also, to put this event in an intersectional manner; this helps the queer community, physically or neuro-atypical, or anyone from a variety of ethnic groups and religions. This does not just help the black and brown community. It helps people such as black queer people, brown physically atypical people. It affects anyone who is neglected but still exists.  

I am vaguely aware of how Biden’s tough-on crime past-mainly being the 80s and 90s- has negatively influenced marginalized groups. However, if Biden keeps a mindset of compassion and empathy, even from their heavily privileged status, the Biden I saw from a TV in a Connecticut hotel 2 years ago, who won the electoral college and represented a change from the bigoted, fascistic laced administration of Donald Trump, will finally come into fruition.