On October 5, 2022, President Biden announced the pardoning of approximately 6,500 people with federal marijuana possession convictions. Additionally, he also instructed the Department of Health and Hunan Services and the Justice Department to review the standing of marijuana on the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Although marijuana is legal in many states for medical use and even recreational use, under federal law, marijuana is still illegal and is classified as a schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD. A Presidential pardon is an executive order that legally forgives a person for a federal crime. It reinstates valuable civil rights lost as a result of a criminal conviction. It is not an exoneration, which acknowledges a person’s wrongful conviction. Even with a pardon, a record of the conviction still exists. The Governor of each state has the executive power to pardon those individuals convicted of state law crimes. It is important to note that Biden is only pardoning those convicted of simple marijuana possession cases. This will not apply to those convicted of federal marijuana trafficking offenses.
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