Federal Marijuana Pardon Urges State-Level Action

Drug convictions hurt your future. They make it harder to find housing and good jobs. If you served time or paid your fines, a marijuana charge can stick with you for years after. Even if you do not have a drug charge, you may have a loved one still serving time over simple marijuana possession.

As NPR Illinois reports, President Biden announced a federal pardon for people convicted of simple marijuana possession.

Not legal but not lethal

In his statement, the president spoke about how marijuana is on the same drug schedule as heroin or LSD. The term “drug schedule” refers to how serious possession is because of a drug’s danger to society. Marijuana is higher on the list than fentanyl and methamphetamines right now.

The statement does not legalize marijuana at a federal level. The pardon only applies to those charged under federal law or D.C. codes. Many people have possession convictions still and need their state’s governor to pardon them. The president urged governors to do so.

Marijuana records for state convicts

This is one step closer to helping people with drug convictions. Governors may feel swayed to issue similar pardons. Two other options available to you or a loved one with a criminal record are record expungements and seals.

An expungement clears your record. Sometimes courts do not allow expungement. In that case, sealing your records may help by keeping employers from referencing a past you would rather leave behind.

It is easier to gain employment, housing and even child custody with a cleaner record. There are resources to help you find out if yours qualifies for an expungement or sealing.