Yesterday (October 6th) President Joe Biden ordered “a full and unconditional pardon” for all U.S. citizens and permanent residents previously convicted of simple possession of marijuana at the federal level and in D.C. Thousands of people will be affected by this pardon but what does it actually mean? While President Biden laid out his plans, people still have questions, including Black and People of Color who may have been greatly affected by rulings, landing them in federal jail or not able to secure jobs, housing, etc.
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Former Atlanta Mayor and now the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Keisha Lance Bottoms joins the Russ Parr Morning Show to explain what this means to people with simple federal simple possession of marijuana convictions. She also urges using your right to vote, especially in the senate race between former NFL star turned Republican Herschel Walker and incumbent Senator Ralph Warnock (D).
Bottoms On Republican Herschel Walker vs. incumbent Senator Ralph Warnock (D).
So with my new job, I do have to be very careful. But I can tell you this. We need to show up and vote because elections matter. And if you look at the last election cycle in Georgia, the way that Joe Biden won the state the way that (Jon) Ossof and Warnock won, those were razor-thin margins, and people cannot take for granted that anybody will win reelection. So if we care about where we are headed as a country, then we need to show up and vote and express that at the ballot box. Because of what we know, right now, we have very thin margins in the Senate. And when you look at the confirmation of Kentaji Brown Jackson, as a justice to the Supreme Court, if we did not have the majority in the Senate right now, we wouldn’t have her on the Supreme Court. So elections matter. I’m not feeling excitement I want to feel in Georgia. I want people to be excited.
What Does The Simple Marijuana Possession Pardon Mean
The numbers that I have in front of me. 6,500 People with prior federal convictions stands for simple possession of marijuana. Now, they may be in jail with simple possession charges and other charges. This just impacts that simple possession charge. But again, let me tell you why this is important. If someone is applying for benefits, if they are applying for a job, if they are applying for housing, in certain instances, if you have this conviction on your record, then you may not be able to get that job or housing. So what this allows people to do this automatic pardon, it allows people to then go and get a piece of paper that says I had been pardoned for this offense, and then it removes those barriers. And so a lot of times people may have other charges, along with simple possession charges. But this is very important, again, because it can stop you from accessing a number of things, education, opportunities, jobs, housing. And we know again, those barriers can be very significant for people of color.