Biden Calls for Marijuana Pardons – Might Not Happen in Louisiana
President Joe Biden took what could be viewed as a major step in the way marijuana and its use is perceived by federal law and federal law enforcement yesterday. The President announced a pardon of all federal marijuana possession charges on Thursday.
This means those convicted on the federal level on charges of marijuana possession will be pardoned. The President, in a statement, suggested that the marijuana convictions have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
While this might seem like great news for a lot of Americans, the number convicted of simple, civil marijuana possession on federal charges is only about 6,000 people. Most marijuana charges and convictions are made on the state level, so unless you or your loved one was charged on the federal level this pardon doesn't apply to you, yet.
However, there are reportedly several changes in the works in regard to Louisiana's marijuana laws and state governments are being pressured to look into making those changes suggested by the federal government.
The President called for a review of federal law regarding marijuana and he encouraged governors around the country to take similar action on state offenses for civil possession of marijuana. Changes in federal law regarding pot are seen as the final barrier to the legalization of the drug on a national level.
Currently, marijuana is classified on the federal level as a Schedule I narcotic. That means it has been found to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. The fact that many states have legalized marijuana for medical use certainly dispels that claim. And the Schedule I tag also puts pot on the same level as heroin and LSD, which are two much more potent and powerful medications.
Just to be clear, the President's statement does not call for any changes in regulations that limit the trafficking, marketing, and sales of marijuana to minors.
A recent survey by the Brookings Institution found that nearly two-thirds of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Currently,19 states have legalized recreational cannabis use and another 12 have decriminalized its use. Thirty-nine states have made medical marijuana legal. In Louisiana, medical marijuana is legal but recreational use of the drug is prohibited.
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