Joe Biden’s Cannabis Pardons Do Not Apply to Everyone

President Joe Biden’s recent cannabis pardons, aimed at U.S. citizens convicted of simple possession or use of marijuana, do not extend to military personnel, according to a U.S. Army update. This clarification highlights the limitations of the pardon, which was part of Biden’s broader marijuana reform initiative.

In a significant move towards marijuana reform, President Joe Biden issued pardons for U.S. citizens convicted of simple possession, attempted possession, or use of cannabis. This action, announced on December 22, was seen as a step towards rectifying the consequences faced by individuals with such convictions, including barriers to employment, housing, and education. However, a recent update from the U.S. Army has specified that these pardons do not apply to military personnel for related offenses under 10 U.S.C 112a, nor to civilian drug-testing programs.

The Biden administration’s marijuana reform, initiated in October 2022, encompasses a three-step approach aimed at altering the handling of marijuana use and possession. This includes issuing certificates of pardon, urging governors to pardon state-level offenses, and reviewing marijuana’s Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act. Despite these efforts, the reform maintains strict federal and state restrictions on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales of marijuana.

The exclusion of military personnel from the pardons underscores the ongoing debate over marijuana criminalization and its implications. Currently, recreational use of marijuana is legal in 24 states and Washington, D.C., reflecting a shift in public and legislative attitudes towards the drug. Biden’s reform and pardon initiative, while not fully inclusive, represents his commitment to fulfilling campaign promises and addressing the disproportionate impact of marijuana convictions.

Why It Matters: The clarification regarding the non-applicability of cannabis pardons to military personnel highlights the complexities and limitations of drug reform policies. It underscores the need for comprehensive solutions that address the legal and social ramifications of marijuana use across all sectors of society, including the military.

Potential Implications: This development may prompt further discussions on drug policy reform, particularly regarding the treatment of military personnel and the broader implications for security clearances, veterans’ benefits, and reintegration into civilian life. It also raises questions about the consistency and equity of pardon and reform efforts across different segments of the population.

Source: Newsweek

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