Home Economy Biden pardons more marijuana offenses in D.C., expanding 2022 clemency

Biden pardons more marijuana offenses in D.C., expanding 2022 clemency



On Wednesday, President Biden granted clemency for more marijuana offenses in the District of Columbia, expanding the White House’s criminal justice reform agenda. This follows his decision in February to pardon more than 500 people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses nationwide.

Biden, who had pledged to make criminal justice reform a priority of his administration and vowed to address the disproportionate incarceration of people of color, granted clemency to 117 individuals, 95% of whom are Black or Latino, who had been convicted primarily of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The majority of those pardoned had been sentenced to at least a year in prison and in some cases up to a decade.

The clemency order applies to offenses that occurred between 1994 and 2009 when the District of Columbia had some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. These individuals were punished for behavior that would no longer be a crime in DC as recreational marijuana has been legalized in the District and many other states around the country.

The move is part of Biden’s wider criminal justice reform agenda, which includes pardoning thousands of additional individuals for low-level, non-violent drug offenses as part of a broader clemency initiative that began in February of this year. The White House is also working on reducing disparities in the criminal justice system, investing in community-based alternatives to incarceration, and expanding legal representation for those in the justice system.

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