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Possessing Marijuana No Longer a Jail Time Offense in the US; Here's Why

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By Augustine Mbam - - 5 Mins Read

Thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession will be released after President Joe Biden issued a new federal order. 

Joe Biden said that the new order he issued was long overdue in the US and wanted to make things right. 

"Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit," Joe Biden said. 

The president of America said that arresting people for a "simple possession" of marijuana has proved to be a barrier to employment and educational opportunities. 

Remember that there have been cases where both black and white Americans are found having possession of marijuana, and the blacks receive more severe punishment. 

President Joe Biden also addressed the situation by saying law enforcement agencies should comply immediately. 

U.S. President Joe Biden looks at a pamphlet of the "12-Point Plan to Rescue America" from Republican U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) as the president speaks at an event about health care costs, Medicare and Social Security, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

"Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates," Biden said. 

Is marijuana legal in US? 

As you might have know that among credible news, there is always fake news. 

After this recent development, news has been making rounds saying that marijuana is now legal in the US. 

However, under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA), marijuana is still classified as an illegal drug in the US. This classification puts marijuana in the same category as heroin and LSD. 

President Biden said those caught selling and buying illegal drugs will still be prosecuted. He only said that those charged with "simple possession" of marijuana should be released. 

Newsvot reports that those who could be pardoned for simple possession of marijuana can be up to 6,500. 

Despite questions of "is marijuana legal in US," Joe Biden has urged government officials, especially governors, to follow suit in releasing those caught for simple possession of the drug. 

"Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either," Joe Biden said. 

Citizens' Reaction to the News 

As expected, there are mixed reactions to the news. While some citizens support the move by the government, others are skeptical about the outcome of the new federal order. 

Nonetheless, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Kassandra Frederique, said that the latest move by the government has been long overdue. 

"There is no reason that people should be saddled with a criminal record – preventing them from obtaining employment, housing, and countless other opportunities – for something that is already legal in 19 states and DC and decriminalized in 31 states," Kassandra Frederique said. 

Religious leaders also voiced out, commending the government for making such a move. 

Rev Al Sharpton, the president of the National Action Network, said that Joe Biden's new order is a great one as many policies are outdated.