"Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit," President Biden said in a statement obtained by NBC News. "Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates."
More than 6,500 U.S. citizens were reported to have been convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law between 1992 and 2021, with thousands more convicted under a Washington, D.C. code, a Biden administration senior official said via NBC News.
There are currently no federal prison inmates serving solely on simple possession of marijuana and the majority of convictions in relation to marijuana possession occur at the state level, according to the official.
Recreational marijuana usage is currently legal in 18 of the 50 US. states, while 48 total states allow some form of medicinal marijuana, excluding only Nebraska and Idaho.
Additionally, 31 states have already undergone some form of decriminalization differing from the previous federal laws.