Washington, D.C. — Today, President Joe Biden took executive action to pardon all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, among other reforms. Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
Today’s announcement is an extraordinary step and will redress some of the devastating and long-lasting impacts of the war on drugs. President Biden’s action not only voids prior marijuana possession arrests but also opens opportunities to housing, education, and employment for millions of people and families suffering from the long-term consequences of failed marijuana criminalization policies. This is particularly true for Black individuals, who have long suffered from disproportionate arrest and jailing for marijuana possession despite using marijuana at equal rates as white communities. No one should be in prison or removed from their families for marijuana possession, which is now legal in many states across the country.
I applaud the administration for taking this critical step and urge governors across the country to follow the president’s lead and pardon all similar offenses in their states as well. We also look to Congress to pass federal legislation that fully deschedules marijuana.
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