February 8, 2023

Presidential Marijuana Pardon Applications Still Unavailable Months After White House Announcement

This is a press release from NORML and appears here with permission.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is urging the Biden Administration to expeditiously move forward on its promise to provide pardons for low-level federal marijuana convictions.

The President announced the issuance of pardons for low-level marijuana-specific convictions on October 6, 2022 as part of a  set of actions critical of federal prohibition. Thousands of people with federal convictions for simple marijuana possession are eligible for pardons, which would help to alleviate many of the collateral consequences associated with having a criminal record. 

However, more than three months later, the Department of Justice pardon website indicates that the applications to obtain a pardon certificate are still unavailable.

“We are grateful that President Biden recognizes the failure of marijuana prohibition and has done more to address the harms it has caused than any past administration,” said NORML political director Morgan Fox. “While the White House rightfully cites these pardons as a major accomplishment, those who could benefit from them continue to face undue difficulties obtaining employment, housing, education, and other vital services while these pardon certificates remain unavailable. Many of the people who are eligible for these pardons have been waiting years for relief. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer.”

As part of the President’s announcement, Biden urged governors to facilitate conviction relief for people with state-level marijuana charges and called for a review of the Schedule 1 status of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

According to publicly available data compiled by NORML, state and local officials have issued over 100,000 pardons and more than 1.7 million marijuana-related expungements since 2018.

 

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