After more than a year in office, President Joe Biden granted clemency to dozens of people with non-violent federal drug convictions on their records.
The president commuted the sentences of 75 individuals who were previously released to home confinement amid the coronavirus pandemic. This marks the first clemency action from Biden—a move that advocates and lawmakers have long awaited and that the administration has repeatedly been pressed on.
While it’s not the mass pardon for people criminalized over cannabis that activists have been pushing for—with White House descriptions of only nine of the people newly receiving clemency mentioning cannabis—it’s a step toward fulfilling a campaign pledge that Biden repeatedly made while running for president.
“America is a nation of laws and second chances, redemption, and rehabilitation,” Biden said in a statement. “Elected officials on both sides of the aisle, faith leaders, civil rights advocates, and law enforcement leaders agree that our criminal justice system can and should reflect these core values that enable safer and stronger communities.”
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