'Historic' Biden pardon for federal pot convictions, lauded by marijuana advocates

President Joe Biden has pardoned most people convicted of federal charges for simple possession of marijuana.

Estimates say that the move will affect about 6,500 people with federal convictions for possession of marijuana will benefit. Biden added that it is important to keep limitations on trafficking, marketing and underage sales amid the decriminalization.

"Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana," he said. "It's time that we right these wrongs."

There are some exceptions like people who were convicted while being in the US illegally, those living in Washington DC convicted of the crime will also stand to benefit.

"While white, and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people are arrested prosecuted and convicted at disproportionately higher rates," said Biden.

The White House has conceded no one is currently in federal prison solely for simple possession of marijuana, but a pardon could remove barriers to getting employment, for example.

"It’s historic. It is the first time I’ve heard the President make a statement so pro-Cannabis," said Barton Morris.

Morris the principal attorney with the Cannabis Legal Group, says the move is also significant for people who won’t qualify for a pardon but could be helpful because of the President's encouragement to governors to take a look at pardons on a state level.

"Most marijuana offenders are at the state level, there are very few at the federal level, particularly as it related to possession offenses," Morris said. "I really do hope that what the president did here, is going to be a strong signal to the rest of the country."

Former Detroit narcotics officer Charles Flanagan worries about the implications of the president’s announcement.

"The underground marijuana market which is full of violence over turf, rip-offs, etc,  and the users who commit crimes to obtain the money to purchase this stuff, has gone on unabated," he said.

Weeks before the midterm and with a somewhat limited scope in the majority of pot convictions, some see the move as purely political

"It’s basically a last-minute effort to round up voters that are the far left, and the liberals," said Flanagan.