On Thursday, the president urged state governors to follow his lead, as state convictions for marijuana possession vastly outnumber federal convictions, The New York Times reports. Biden also noted that people of color, namely Black and brown people, are incarcerated for marijuana possession at higher rates than their white counterparts, a statistic advocacy groups have encouraged the president to tackle, the Times continues.
Along with the pardons, Biden also announced plans to review marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug; however, the federal government should keep "important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales of marijuana," he said.
"This is incredibly long overdue," said Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance. "There is no reason that people should be saddled with a criminal record ... for something that is already legal in 19 states and D.C. and decriminalized in 31 states."