LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law are now pardoned. It’s part of President Biden’s Administration’s step toward decriminalizing the drug.
According to the White House, no one is currently in federal prison solely for “simple possession” of the drug, but the pardon could help thousands overcome obstacles to renting a home or finding a job. The president is urging governors to issue similar pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offenses.
“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” President Biden said.
A statement by President Biden that gives advocacy organizations like the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition hope.
For years Jennifer Dunegan has lived with epilepsy, type 1 diabetes and several other health conditions. She says decriminalizing the drug would be life-changing for her.
President Biden’s pardon also addresses charging practices that disproportionately affect people of color. Something C.J. Carter with Minorities for Medical Marijuana has strived for, creating an inclusive environment where diversity is valued.
Carter was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy after having his first seizure in the summer 2018 and why he works with the organization.
What’s the next step for Kentucky? According to Scottie Ellis, deputy communications director for the office of Gov. Beshear, the White House has not briefed the Gov.’s office on what his pardons may require but says, “the governor agrees that no one should be in jail simply because of possession of marijuana. The governor looks forward to reviewing those details when available in his larger analysis on medical cannabis and how to move forward when the vast majority of Kentuckians demand it.”
Government officials say there are currently no Americans serving prison time solely on federal simple marijuana possession charges but say over 6,500 people have been charged with that crime.
Minorities for Medical Marijuana will host a Speed Networking event next Thursday October 13th from 5pm to 7pm at the Black Jockeys Lounge. Serving as a chance to collaborate with like-minded individuals in the cannabis space.