The Biden Administration Activates a Pardon Software For Small Marijuana Charges!
People who were found guilty of low-level federal marijuana possession can now apply for a pardon from the Biden Administration. In October, President Joe Biden said that he would pardon people who had been convicted of simple possession of marijuana. This would affect about 6,500 people who had been convicted of this federal crime between 1992 and 2021.
If a person has up to four ounces of marijuana on them, they can be charged with simple possession, which is a federal misdemeanor. This means they will have to pay a fine of at least $1,000 and could go to prison, though no one is currently serving time in federal prison just for marijuana possession.
Joe Biden tried in a small way to help people who had been convicted of a low-level crime move on with their lives and reduce the shame and other problems that come with a criminal record. “A pardon shows that the President is willing to forgive. It doesn’t mean that they are innocent or get rid of the conviction.
But it may take away civil restrictions, like not being able to vote, run for office, or serve on a jury, that was put in place because of the conviction that was overturned. It might also help you get licenses, bonds, or a job,” the website says. You might be eligible for the pardon if:
- were charged with or convicted of simple marijuana possession by a federal or D.C. Superior court on or before Oct. 6, 2022
- were a U.S. citizen or were lawfully present in the country at the time of the crime
- were a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident on Oct. 6, 2022
People who have been convicted in federal court will be the only ones who can get a pardon. It doesn’t affect people who were convicted of the same charge in North Carolina courts, but Gov. Roy Cooper has said that his lawyers are looking at convictions for simple marijuana possession to see if the executive branch can do anything to follow the president’s lead, like issue a pardon.
The Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice was shown data that showed 31,287 people were charged with possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana in 2019. This is the state’s lowest-level misdemeanor, which could lead to a fine of up to $200 but not jail time.
Out of the 31,000 charges, 8,520 people were found guilty. Over 60% of the people who were found guilty of the crime were not white. In the same year, 3,422 people were charged with having more than half an ounce but less than 1.5 ounces of marijuana, which could lead to 45 days in jail and a $200 fine.
There were 1,909 convictions, and 70% of those who were convicted were not white. In their report, which came out a month later, the task force suggested that lawmakers make it legal to have up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. Legislators did not follow through on this suggestion.