Biden pardons more marijuana offenses in D.C., expanding 2022 clemency


President Joe Biden on Monday expanded his clemency initiative to help those convicted for marijuana offenses in Washington, D.C., by pardoning all misdemeanor marijuana cases from the past four decades, an effort to help undo the racial disparities that have been institutionalized within the criminal justice system.

The pardon will apply to individuals who either had a minor marijuana possession charge in D.C. court, or were convicted of a marijuana-related misdemeanor offense in D.C. Circuit Court within the last 40 years.

The President’s announcement follows his announcement earlier this month that he was expanding his clemency initiative to include those convicted of federal marijuana offenses. The initiative will grant clemency to individuals who qualify, allowing them to have their criminal record cleared.

According to various estimates, the latest Biden initiative will lead to the pardon of thousands of individuals whose lives have been impacted by marijuana convictions. The announcement also marks a milestone, as President Biden is the first sitting President to pardon misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

The news has been welcomed by criminal justice reform advocates, who are hopeful this is the beginning of an era of criminal justice reform that simultaneously addresses economic and racial injustice.

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