Keisha Lance Bottoms Explains What President Biden’s Simple Federal Marijuana Possession Pardon’s Mean




Yesterday (October 6th) President Joe Biden ordered “a full and unconditional pardon” for all U.S. citizens and permanent residents previously convicted of simple possession of marijuana at the federal level and in D.C. Thousands of people will be affected by this pardon but what does it actually mean? While President Biden laid out his plans, people still have questions, including Black and People of Color who may have been greatly affected by rulings, landing them in federal jail or not able to secure jobs, housing, etc.

Former Atlanta Mayor and now the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Keisha Lance Bottoms explains what this means to people with simple federal simple possession of marijuana convictions. 

"The numbers that I have in front of me. 6,500 People with prior federal convictions stands for simple possession of marijuana. Now, they may be in jail with simple possession charges and other charges. This just impacts that simple possession charge. But again, let me tell you why this is important. If someone is applying for benefits, if they are applying for a job, if they are applying for housing, in certain instances, if you have this conviction on your record, then you may not be able to get that job or housing. So what this allows people to do this automatic pardon, it allows people to then go and get a piece of paper that says I had been pardoned for this offense, and then it removes those barriers. And so a lot of times people may have other charges, along with simple possession charges. But this is very important, again, because it can stop you from accessing a number of things, education, opportunities, jobs, housing. And we know again, those barriers can be very significant for people of color."