WASHINGTON – American President Joe Biden on Thursday announced overhauling the US policy on marijuana by pardoning thousands of people with federal offenses for simple marijuana possession.
Officials estimate about 6,500 people with federal convictions for simple possession of marijuana will benefit.
No-one is currently in federal prison solely for possession of marijuana. Most convictions occur at state level.
Biden said thousands of people with prior federal convictions could be denied employment, housing or educational opportunities and his executive action would relieve such "collateral" consequences.
As a presidential candidate, Biden promised to decriminalise cannabis use, as well as expunging convictions.
He added that non-white people were statistically far more likely to be jailed for cannabis.
As a White House candidate, Biden was criticised for writing a 1994 crime bill that stiffened penalties for drug crimes and led to more incarceration of minorities.
The Democratic president said he would call upon all state governors to issue their own marijuana pardons.
He is also directing the Department of Justice and the Department of Health to review how cannabis is classified under federal law.
"Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It's time that we right these wrongs," Biden said.
He urged state governors to follow suit. Recreational marijuana is already legal in 19 states and Washington DC. Medical use is legal in 37 states and three US territories.
However, the drug remains illegal at the federal level, even in states where it can be legally bought and used, meaning people there could still be convicted for possession in certain circumstances.
The pardons come a month before November’s congressional mid-term elections, which will determine the power balance in Washington for the last two years of Mr Biden’s term.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 23, 2024 (Friday)
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.45 for selling.
Euro comes down to 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 75.95 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.25.
Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
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