Joe Biden's Cannabis Pardons Do Not Apply to Everyone

Joe Biden’s Cannabis Pardons Do Not Apply to Everyone

Joe Biden’s cannabis pardons do not apply to everyone, an update from the U.S. Army has said.

The president issued a pardon for all U.S. citizens who had been convicted of simple possession or attempted simple possession, or use of cannabis, also known as marijuana on December 22.

However, a new update has clarified that this pardon does not apply to everyone in the U.S.

Those in the military are not pardoned for these same offenses, the update reported.

A stock photo shows a cannabis plant. Military ceremony. Pardons issued by Joe Biden for possession or use of the drug are not extended to the U.S. military.

MiMaLeFi/roibu/Getty Images
“The proclamation does not cover military drug offenses under 10 U.S.C 112a and therefore does not result in a pardon for military personnel, nor does it apply to the civilian drug-testing program,” the U.S. Army statement read.

Biden has been introducing a marijuana reform since October 2022, which involves a three-step approach to changing how marijuana use and possession is dealt with.

“The attorney general issues certificates of pardon to eligible individuals, and then Biden urges governors to grant pardons for state-level offenses,” the U.S. Army said in the statement. “During the final step, the secretary of Health and Human Services and the attorney general review the Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act, which labels marijuana as dangerous as heroin and LSD but with a lower potential for abuse than fentanyl and methamphetamine. However, Biden emphasizes that as marijuana regulations change, federal and state restrictions on trafficking, marketing and underage sales should stay in place.”

The idea of the reform and the pardon is to help those who have been convicted for possession or use of the drug seek employment, housing and educational opportunities.

Although the pardon does not extend to the military, Biden has pointed to the reform as evidence that he is adhering to policies he promised while running for president.

The debate as to whether marijuana should be criminalized is a long-standing one, with many vocal on either side.

Around 22 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized the drug, meaning that those in possession aren’t prosecuted.

“As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said in his October 6 2022 statement on the marijuana reform. “Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.”

In the United States, cannabis or marijuana is the most commonly used federally illicit drug. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) around 18 percent of Americans used marijuana at least once in 2019. Recreational use of marijuana is currently legal in 24 states and in Washington, D.C.

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