In a statement released on January 3, 2021, President Biden announced that he has pardoned seven individuals convicted of marijuana offenses in the District of Columbia. The president said that he was pardoning D.C. residents whose convictions were part of his year-long 2022 clemency initiative, which was announced in late December.
The initiative seeks to reduce criminal justice disparities related to marijuana use in D.C. and beyond by granting clemency to individuals whose convictions were handed down in the District or those whose cases may have followed a similar trajectory. The grants of clemency in the presidential announcement apply to individuals in that broader category.
This latest round of pardons follows a statement from the Biden Administration in December confirming that the president would use his clemency powers to reduce the number of marijuana-related sentences. The initiative is part of a larger effort to reduce the mass incarceration rate in the United States.
This is not the first time the Biden Administration has addressed marijuana legalization and clemency efforts in the District of Columbia. Last month, President Biden and Vice President Harris voiced support for a bill that would remove cannabis from the list of items found in the Controlled Substances Act, effectively decriminalizing cannabis in all 50 states.
We applaud the Biden Administration’s efforts to make sure that no one is left behind and that justice is served across this nation, including in the District of Columbia. Marijuana reform efforts on the local, state, and federal levels must remain a priority if we want to reduce incarceration and make lasting change.