Joe Biden Announces Overturning of All Federal Convictions for Simple Possession of Cannabis

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced on Thursday, October 6, the cancellation of all federal convictions for simple possession of cannabis. “No one should be jailed for the simple fact of using or possessing cannabis”he said on Twitter, calling on state governors to follow this path and pardon those convicted of a simple cannabis possession offense.

Although the movement to decriminalize cannabis resonates strongly in the United States, the president has also called on health and judicial authorities to rethink the penalties associated with the use or possession of marijuana. Mr. Biden, however, insisted on the importance of continuing the fight against cannabis trafficking and its sale to minors.

Authorized use in nineteen states

These new measures also aim to rectify criminal proceedings that disproportionately affect ethnic minorities, justified the president. “Erase the criminal record of people convicted of drug possession is a matter of social justice”applauded influential progressive-elect Pramila Jayapal.

Nineteen of the fifty US states, as well as the federal capital, Washington, have legalized the recreational use of cannabis for adults. In most states, the medical use of cannabis is permitted to varying degrees, from the use of oils that contain a low level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) to that of pure marijuana. Only a handful of ultraconservative and rural states, such as Idaho, Wyoming or Nebraska, remain uncompromising.

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“This is a victory for fairness, justice and redemption”welcomed Cynthia Roseberry, an official with the ACLU civil rights association. “It means that thousands of people will get a second chance, instead of being punished forever for actions that are now legal or decriminalized in more than half of the states.”she added.

On the opposition side, Republican Senator Tom Cotton criticized “a desperate attempt to divert attention from bad leadership”.

A first step towards the reclassification of marijuana

Interestingly, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. The lower house of the US Congress had approved, at the beginning of April, a bill, led by the elected officials of its Democratic party, with the aim of removing cannabis from the federal list of dangerous drugs. However, the text still needs to be approved by the Senate.

Joe Biden’s announcement on Thursday, however, symbolizes a first step towards his reclassification, and can be interpreted as a stand-up call to the young electorate, one month before the midterm elections in which the Democrats could lose control of at least one of the two. American Houses of Parliament.

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Marijuana use among young Americans reached record levels last year, according to a new study. As a whole, the American population is overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing cannabis. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last year, 91% of adults think that marijuana should be legal, for medical use, recreational use, or both.

Sales of legal cannabis in the United States last year were around 25,000 million dollars and all experts predict rapid growth in the sector in the coming years.

The world with AFP

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