Every American has a fundamental right to equal justice under law.
And yet, for too long, far too many people in our country—in particular, people of color—have been denied that fundamental right because of unfair and inequitable drug policies that do not make our communities safer.
Last year, to address these historic injustices and with the support of faith leaders, civil rights advocates, and law enforcement officials, President Joe Biden granted a blanket pardon for simple marijuana possession under federal and D.C. law.
Today, to build on that work, President Biden has issued a broader pardon for an additional set of marijuana possession and use offenses. These marijuana pardons will help thousands of people by making it easier for them to find a job, buy a home, and get an education.
President Biden and I have been clear: We must continue to change our nation’s approach to marijuana and reform the criminal justice system. As I have declared many times before, no one should be in prison simply for smoking weed. That is why we continue to call on Governors to join us in this long-overdue work.
Today, President Biden also commuted the sentences of 11 Americans serving time for non-violent drug offenses—individuals who would likely have received shorter sentences for the same crimes today. At this point in our term, he has exercised his clemency power more than any other recent predecessor.
President Biden and I will continue to work to address historic inequities and racial disparities in federal drug policy and sentencing, to make sure that our justice system truly lives up to its name.