Joe Biden’s cannabis pardons matter. But the war on drugs’ racist legacy lingers

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Joe Biden’s cannabis pardons matter. But the war on drugs’ racist legacy lingers
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Joe Biden’s cannabis pardons matter. But the war on drugs’ racist legacy lingers
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Last week President Biden announced he would pardon people convicted of simple marijuana possession. This mass pardon could help over 6,000 people but it’s still a drop in the bucket in our fight to end the criminalization of marijuana use and the outsized harm to Black and brown communities from that criminalization.

This mass pardon doesn’t free one person from prison, because there are currently no federal prisoners in jail for simple possession.

However, the pardons aren’t meaningless.

READ MORE: ‘Legalize it’: Advocates cheer presidential pardons of federal cannabis convictions

People who have felony convictions on their records face obstacles in finding jobs, getting housing, receiving loans, voting or serving on juries. Despite the conviction being from a federal charge, many of these rights are dependent on state law. In some states, a federal felony conviction is an obstacle to voting while in others, it isn’t.

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