President Joe Biden announced that he would pardon all federal misdemeanors marijuana possession Thursday, in what amounts will be the first major step toward nationwide decriminalization.

According to senior administration officials, the move fulfills Biden’s campaign promise to erase all prior federal possession convictions and will affect thousands of Americans accused of the crime.

President Biden notes how law unfairly affects black people despite equal usage rates among whites

In his speech announcing the executive order, Biden noted that marijuana is already legal in many states and noted that “marijuana possession convictions have created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities.”

(Photo by Eitan ABRAMOVICH/AFP) (Photo by EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP via Getty Images)

“No one should go to jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said. “It is legal in many states, and marijuana possession convictions have created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities.

The president also talked about the racial disparity when it comes to marijuana possession charges, adding that “black and brown people are arrested … and convicted at a disproportionately high rate.”

“And that’s before you touch on the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences. While white and black and brown people use marijuana at equal rates, black and brown people are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted, and convicted.”

President Joe Biden signs two bipartisan bills to help fight fraud during the pandemic.
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In April, the House of Representatives officially passed the MORE Act, legalizing marijuana nationwide. Shadow room reported earlier.

The bill decriminalizes those who manufacture, distribute or possess the substances. According to CNN, the bill was initiated by the representative of the Democratic Party, Jerry Nadler from New York. In addition to decriminalization, it would prevent federal agencies from denying federal workers permission to use cannabis.

Biden encourages state governors to follow federal lead, instructs attorney general to review classification

Biden went on to call on governors to follow suit and similarly pardon simple marijuana possession charges, which would increase the number of Americans affected by such crimes.

The Department of Health and Human Services and Attorney General Merrick Garland will be tasked with “expeditingly” reviewing how the drug is scheduled under federal law in a broader effort to relax federal classification standards.

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Currently, marijuana is in the same category of much harder drugs as heroin and LSD.

Biden’s announcement comes just a month before key November midterm elections that will determine who controls Congress.

Marijuana legalization is a central issue in swing districts across the country ahead of midterm elections

Several candidates vying for a seat in the US Senate, namely Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, have focused a significant portion of their campaigns on the issue of legalizing marijuana.

Fetterman and Biden did meet together last month, and the candidate said beforehand that he was going to raise the issue with the president.

Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to balance their progressive values ​​and shrug off accusations that they are soft on crime, which remains a major issue in some swing districts.