US President Joe Biden announced that he intends to take executive action to pardon thousands of people who have been convicted of marijuana possession under federal law.
On Thursday, President Biden said: "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, black, and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates."
An estimated 6,500 with previous federal convictions for simple marijuana possession will be pardoned, a senior administration official said.
The US President said he would encourage governors to take similar actions with state offenses and would request the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to "initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law."
Under federal law, Marijuana is classed as a schedule 1 drug, the same as heroin and LSD.
A senior administration official told reporters that thousands of people with previous marijuana possession convictions are denied employment, housing, and educational opportunities. They said: "This pardon will help relieve those collateral consequences."