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President Biden Pardons Marijuana Convictions

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

United States President Joe Biden standing at a podium in front of the United States Flag
Image from Newsweek

What do federal pardons for simple possession of marijuana mean for the state of Louisiana? In breaking news, President Joe Biden announced on October 6th, 2022, that he is pardoning all prior federal simple possession of marijuana convictions. President Biden declared a three-step plan to "right the wrongs" of prior federal marijuana convictions. Marijuana prohibition has sent people to prison, thus upending many lives and incarcerated people for consumption of marijuana that is now legal in many states.

Criminal records for marijuana possession have created barriers to employment, housing, educational, and social opportunities. Government statistics show that both White, Black, and Brown people use marijuana at similar rates, but Black and Brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.

President Biden's Three-Step Plan

  1. President Biden has directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals.

  2. President Biden urged all United States Governors to issue state pardons for simple possession of marijuana convictions.

  3. President Biden asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

*It is important to note that United States federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, this classification is meant for the most dangerous substances. This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine- the drugs that are driving overdose epidemics in the United States.

What Does This Mean for Louisiana?

The state of Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the entire world. Many currently incarcerated people have been sentenced to double-digits, or life sentences under habitual offender laws. Some of them have simple possession of marijuana charges that contributed to their habitual offender sentencing. Citizens of Louisiana can write to their representatives, senators, and directly to Governor John Bell Edwards, urging them to follow the lead of President Joe Biden. Governor John Bell Edwards has the authority to issue pardons for simple possession of marijuana, just like President Joe Biden.

The pardoning of all prior simple possession of marijuana charges in Louisiana can lead to cases and sentencing being either reheard or overturned; more employment opportunities; opportunities to enter the Louisiana Consumable and Industrial Hemp Industry; Housing; and the removal of social stigma.

Belle Terre Law Firm was founded by Chareese "Queen" Haile, Esq. Queen is a Cannabis and Trademark Attorney. Her office is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She provides trademark services throughout the entire state of Louisiana and its metropolitan areas (Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, and Shreveport). She also provides federal trademark services throughout the entire United States, its territories and possessions. To learn more about Queen visit:

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