In a surprising move, President Joe Biden announced that he was issuing a Presidential pardon for everyone who has been convicted of simple marijuana possession on the federal level.

This pardon will apply to not only thousands of people who are currently in federal prison for marijuana crimes, but also folks who had been convicted and have since served their sentences.

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This announcement marks a major change in American drug policy and will also help countless numbers of New Yorkers who had been targeted and arrested for using a drug that many medical professionals consider to be less harmful to lungs than cigarettes.

While federal arrests for marijuana have declined over the years in general, there are still more than 2,700 people currently behind bars with convictions for simple marijuana possession. There are approximately an additional 4,000 people who have convictions on their records but have served out their sentences.

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. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.
-Joesph R. Biden, President of the United States

This move is in line with what many states and territories in the county, including New York have already changed their laws surrounding marijuana usage and possession.

President Biden made his announcement just after leaving an event that happened in Poughkeepsie, NY. This is key because there is no denying how New York State was one of the places that served as a hub in the war on drugs. Studies have shown that people of all races use and possess marijuana at similar rates, but enforcement of state and federal drug laws has in many cases unfairly targeted communities of color.

Biden has also said he is strongly going to urge all states to take steps similar to what he's done and what has been done in places like New York.

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