Whether you pay attention to politics or not, this particular announcement comes as a surprise to literally anyone that smokes weed. Whether you just started enjoying a joint after work or if you've been blazing since it was illegal and simple possession of it would land you in jail. In a surprise announcement, President Biden announced that all prisoners convicted of simple marijuana possession charges are to pardoned. He also announced two other aspects of this announcement which we will dive into later, but let's just say, this is a big deal.
ONE STEP CLOSER TO FULLY ENDING THE WAR ON DRUGS
In a landmark move that is now being widely distributed by all major news networks on both sides of the political spectrum, President Biden announced all prisoners being held in federal facilities are to be pardoned. In effect - whoever is currently serving time will be released, and those that did their time but must now live effectively as a second-class citizen per usual for those with a criminal record, are to have their records wiped clean. Within the Federal Penitentiary system, this equates to literally thousands of people that can finally move on with their lives and catch up to a society that is ever-more accepting of marijuana.
This is the first time a sitting U.S. President, quite literally the most powerful individual in the world has openly criticized the country's failure in the War on Drugs. If you recall, not even 20 years ago, you could be thrown in jail for possessing a partially smoked doobie in your pocket. Not even more than two decades ago, the simple act of enjoying Blue Dream out in the open was quite literally a pipe dream where you had to know someone to even obtain the product then go through a top-secret mission to ensure you were never caught.
This ends today. Today marks the first tangible and real progress towards cannabis legalization.
The President not only frees current inmates and former prisoners within the Federal prisons system, but he also calls upon the individual state governors for the state and county prison system to follow suit. For the first time, the U.S. is effectively admitting defeat in the War on Drugs and is actively working towards moving on.
As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.— President Biden (@POTUS) October 6, 2022
Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach. Allow me to lay them out.
THE INEVITABLE RE-CLASSIFICATION
As important as freeing up people's abilities to enjoy all the wonderful freedoms we Americans take for granted, this next point is equal to roughly a generation's worth of wealth: the inevitable re-classification of marijuana.
In 1970, marijuana was added as a Schedule I Controlled Substance as part of the Controlled Substances Act. A year later, President Nixon initiated the War on Drugs with public enemy number one being marijuana. Now, a whole fifty-one years later, President Biden is finally closing the War on Drugs to the tune of not only pardoning prisoners and those with a simple possession criminal record, but is calling on the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to begin the process of re-classifying the plant.
No longer should marijuana be considered a Schedule I substance, or a controlled substance at all. For context, marijuana is currently a Schedule I substance that shares the same attitude as cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, three substances with a consistent history of killing its users. To date, there is not a single marijuana-related death since the substance was added to the list all those years ago.
This is a huge step in the right direction. Simply looking at the numbers, 39 states have an active medical marijuana program. Nineteen of which legalize cannabis for recreational use. That's roughly 78% of the country with legal access, yet the federal position on it is still a dangerous substance and should be treated as such.
While all three of these announcements do not effectively legalize, let alone decriminalize marijuana's status as a plant to be enjoyed by all, this is the first tangible step towards achieving that goal.