Movement for Black Lives Statement on Executive Order to Pardon all Federal Offenses for Simple Marijuana Possession

After President Biden announced a pardon of all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

President Biden’s pardons are long overdue and come after years of calls for action from Black communities. While it is a victory for survivors, advocates, organizers and communities who have been calling for change, much work remains to address the harms of America’s marijuana policies and broader “war on drugs,” which has been a primary driver of mass criminalization, incarceration, and police violence targeting Black people over the past five decades, devastating families, communities, and generations. 

Today, we call for more action to address the harms of America’s marijuana policies and broader “war on drugs.” Marijuana is already legal in 19 states and decriminalized in 31, and five more states will vote on legalization in November. Now is the time to deschedule marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge criminal records for all drug-related offenses, which have prevented far too many people from accessing housing, employment and education. These actions must also be extended to undocumented people who under this executive order would still be detained or deported for marijuana possession. We can’t wait any longer to address the harm of policies that have criminalized, incarcerated and violently targeted our communities. 


The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.