Arizona residents with federal convictions for marijuana possession will benefit more from President Joseph Biden’s recently announced pardon than past offenders in nearly any other state, according to azcentral report. .
analysis More than 1,450 people were convicted of federal marijuana possession charges in Arizona between 1992 and 2021, according to a U.S. Sentencing Commission study. This represents his more than 20% of the estimated 6,500 convictions affected by the pardon. California is the only state with more pardons under enforcement action, with about 1,550 federal convictions for low-level cannabis possession. The only other state with more than 1,000 such convictions was Texas, with 1,015.
It’s not clear how many of those convicted of federal marijuana possession also had other convictions not eligible for pardon. , had the highest number of simple marijuana possession convictions of any other state. During that time, data shows that about 93% of the 500 convictions resulted in prison sentences.
“I think it’s a really welcome relief for a lot of people out there.” Jonathan Udel saidRose Law Group attorney and acting co-director of Arizona NORML.
“I think there are a lot of people who are really hurt by being branded as lawless citizens,” he continued. It sends a huge message to people that you’re not a bad person just because you’ve had or had.”
Biden pardon affects 6,500 convictions
On October 6, Biden announced that he had issued an executive order pardoning all federal convictions for simple marijuana possession. The amnesty affects approximately 6,500 people convicted of marijuana possession under federal law and thousands of people convicted of similar charges in the District of Columbia. new york times.
“As I often said during my presidential campaign, marijuana use or possession alone should not put people in jail. And it’s taking too many lives and imprisoning people.” Biden said in a statement“Marijuana possession convictions also impose unnecessary barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Browns are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted and convicted.”
Biden also urged governors to take similar action in jurisdictions where the majority of cannabis possession charges have been filed and prosecuted as state crimes. In addition, the President directed the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and the Department of Justice to review the continued classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. According to law, the Schedule 1 classification is for drugs that have no medical value and a high risk of abuse.
Activists demonstrate at White House for cannabis generosity
Many marijuana policy reform activists and cannabis industry representatives hailed Biden’s pardon as a historic step, but it did not relieve other federal marijuana-related convictions, and federal prisoners were not released. Some complained about the limited range of actions they were allowed to take from prison. On Monday, activist groups including Students for Wise Drug Policy, DC Marijuana Justice, The Last Prisoner Project, and Maryland Marijuana Justice demonstrated outside the White House, urging Biden to speak out more about cannabis generosity. I asked him to take action.
“It was a failed opportunity to make real change. The president could have done so much more than he could,” said Steve DeAngelo, co-founder of The Last Prisoner Project. Told. washington post“He was doing the least he could to create a positive press release.”
Featuring speakers such as hip-hop icons Redman and Dead Prez’s M1, 50-foot inflatable joints, and the arrest of at least one protester for passing through security gates without permission, the demonstrators are non-violent. urged Biden to release all marijuana-related federal prisoners. belief. Cannabis activist Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DC Marijuana Justice, said protesters’ demands included releasing 100 prisoners immediately and all 2,800 by Christmas. There is
“The greatest tragedy in modern civil rights is the imprisonment of people for cannabis,” Eidinger said. “If there is any interest from the White House and they schedule a meeting with protest representatives, I think they will call off civil disobedience and declare victory.”