Success: Cannabis Possession No Longer Punished With Prison Time

Target: Joe Biden, President of the United States

Goal: Applaud granting of pardons for federal marijuana possession convictions.

Over 6,500 Americans have been branded criminals at the federal level and lost their freedom – as well as post-incarceration employment opportunities – because of pot. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug, placing it among the ranks of far more dangerous and addictive drugs like heroin. Because of this classification, individuals (disproportionately minorities) can be imprisoned for simply possessing a substance that an increasing number of states are legalizing for medical and even recreational use. In fact, about half of all drug-related arrests in America are for pot possession. This ForceChange petition called for federal action in rectifying these injustices. The first important step has now been taken.

President Biden announced that he would pardon anyone convicted of federal simple marijuana possession. The pardons will not apply to individuals who were convicted of selling drugs. The president said of this action: “too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.” Governors were encouraged to follow President Biden’s lead and issue pardons for state possession offenses, and a few state leaders are already taking action. Perhaps most importantly for the future, the proclamation also directs the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to reassess the classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, which could eventually clear the way for federal legalization.

Sign the petition below to thank the president for honoring this campaign promise.


Dear President Biden,

The plague of cannabis convictions has disproportionately weighed on minority communities who, despite basically equal usage rates, are still incarcerated for marijuana possession at four times the level of white Americans. Moreover, this drug is nowhere near the health menace of other substances like heroin or even alcohol. In fact, evidence has increasingly highlighted its potential medical benefits.

Thank you for recognizing all of these valid arguments and freeing at least some marijuana users from the lifelong label of criminal. And thank you for preparing the way for a more equitable and fair future of cannabis use.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ron Lach

One Comment

  1. In my opinion, it makes sense to release someone who was caught smoking pot to free up jail/prison space for real criminals like rapists, murderers and pedophiles, not to mention arsonists, vandals and so on. Prisons and jails are expensive and no one wants to build more so make better use of your money and your space and kick the stoners out. Right now people who should be in jail are let go because there is no room for them and that’s wrong.

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