President Biden made the first step towards decriminalizing marijuana this week when he announced that all prior Federal possession convictions would be pardoned, which could affect thousands of Americans.
“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs,” the President said.

While this stops short of decriminalizing marijuana — one of Biden’s campaign promises — many see this as the first step. Biden also announced that has asked the Department of Health and Human Services and Attorney General Merrick Garland to “expeditiously” review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. As it stands now, weed is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, placing it in the same category as LSD and heroin  under the  1970 Controlled Substances Act,  meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said in a video announcing his executive actions. “It’s legal in many states, and criminal records for marijuana possession have led to needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And that’s before you address the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences. While white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people are arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”