United States President Joe Biden will pardon all those convicted at the federal level of marijuana possession through an executive order, the White House announced Thursday.
“Sending people to jail simply for possessing marijuana has affected too many lives and put people in jail for conduct that is legal in many states,” the president said in a video announcing the decision.
In a call with journalists, senior officials from the US Administration explained that the order will affect those convicted at the federal level, of which no one is currently in prison, although Biden will encourage governors to do the same in the states.
“We estimate that around 6,500 people convicted of marijuana possession at the federal level, and 1,000 people in the District of Columbia, will benefit from this decision,” said an official during the call.
These convictions, in many cases, make it difficult for those affected to access housing or employment. The majority of convictions for possession of marijuana, however, occur at the state level, so the Administration of the Democratic president will urge governors across the country to take the same action.
The announcement is part of a series of executive actions announced by Biden to try to take steps to decriminalize marijuana, one of his electoral promises that, however, has been slowed down by the lack of agreements in Congress.
Biden has decided to speed up the process and launch a series of measures to ease the burden that marijuana possession convictions pose for a large part of society, especially the non-white population of the country.