Thousands of people who were convicted of use and simple possession of marijuana on federal lands and in the District of Columbia have been pardoned, the White House said Friday.
President Joe Biden announced that the clemencies are meant to rectify racial disparities in the justice system.
The categorical pardon builds on a similar round issued just before the 2022 midterm elections that pardoned thousands convicted of simple possession on federal lands.
Friday’s action broadens the criminal offenses covered by the pardon.
Biden is also granting clemency to 11 people serving what the White House called “disproportionately long” sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, according to the AP.
Biden, in a statement, said his actions would help make the “promise of equal justice a reality.”
No one was freed from prison under last year’s action, but the pardons were meant to help thousands overcome obstacles to renting a home or finding a job. Similarly, no federal prisoners are eligible for release as a result of Friday’s pardon.
But the order expands the grounds on which pardons are issued. In the last round, people were pardoned for simple possession under only one criminal statute.
Friday’s pardons also apply to several other criminal statutes, including attempted simple possession.