Washington [US], October 7 (ANI): Taking executive action to change United States policy on marijuana, US President Joe Biden has announced a sweeping pardon for thousands of people convicted of drug possession under federal laws.
"I am announcing a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. I have directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals," Biden said in a statement.
"There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions," he added.
Notably, the order only applies to those convicted on federal charges of "simple marijuana possession".
"Just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either," he said.
Marijuana is illegal under federal law, even as states have moved toward legal use for recreational and medical purposes.
As a candidate, Biden stopped short of endorsing legalization of recreational marijuana, but he supported moving towards decriminalization.
"Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It's time that we right these wrongs," he said in the statement.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning it is in the same category as drugs like heroin and LSD. According to the federal government, it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical value, The Hill reported. (ANI)