Joe Biden will be making some major changes to his marijuana policy, an issue that advocates have been pushing him on since he took office. On Thursday afternoon, the White House announced that Biden pardoned thousands of people who were charged in the past with simple marijuana possession. In a statement, the president cited the uneven application of such charges, saying that people of color are more likely to be arrested and convicted despite rates of usage being similar regardless of race.
“There are thousands of people who have prior federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result,” Biden said. “My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”
The unilateral action comes just a little over a month before the crucial November midterms which may largely be viewed as a referendum on his first two years in office. A bill to fully decriminalize marijuana on the federal level has been stalled in Congress since being introduced in July by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Biden is also urging governors across the country to use their power and take the same action in their own states. “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,” Biden added.
On top of the pardon spree, Biden is also asking the attorney general and health secretary to review the federal government’s classification of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Currently, it’s listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, putting it on the same level as other drugs like heroin, ecstasy, and LSD.
As soon as the news broke, the internet reacted as only it can — creating memes dubbing the president “Dank Brandon”: