President Joe Biden on Thursday granted “a full, complete, and unconditional pardon” to every American who has been convicted under federal law for simple possession of marijuana. It was a responsible, necessary, and incredibly popular move. More than 70 percent of Americans favor expungement of the records of those with marijuana convictions, according to 2020 polling data compiled by YouGov.com.
At a time when Republicans candidates are attacking Democrats for supporting criminal justice reform, this is a reform that is supported by 81 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, and 57 percent of Republicans. Those numbers roughly parallel the levels of support for legalization of marijuana. And they provide a reminder that ending marijuana prohibition can and should be an issue in races this fall for state and federal posts.
Biden framed the pardon order as a practical response to a particular consequence for thousands of Americans—6,500 convicted under federal offenses, and thousands more in the District of Columbia—who have been the victims of this country’s failed war on drugs. [Continue reading…]