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What Does President Biden’s Announcement Mean for Marijuana Legalization in Pennsylvania? 

White House announces plans to pardon all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana and review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

January 31, 2023

Push for change by urging Gov. Tom Wolf to support marijuana legalization for adult recreational use in Pennsylvania and for federal marijuana legalization.  Contact his office online or by calling 717-787-2500.  

President Joe Biden took a major step toward decriminalizing marijuana by pardoning all prior federal offenses of minor marijuana possession, which will clear the records of an estimated 6,500 Americans who have been convicted of these charges at the federal level. Additionally, the Biden administration urged all governors to follow his lead and pardon those convicted of similar offenses in state courts (where minor marijuana convictions are much more common).  

President Biden also announced that his administration will review and reconsider marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule 1 narcotic – the same category as cocaine and heroin – which could have major positive implications for the continued research and testing of marijuana as a legitimate medical treatment.   

Even though this announcement is not the full federal marijuana legalization or marijuana expungement that advocates (including us) hoped for, this is still incredible news. Pardoning these convictions will help remove obstacles for people trying to get a job, find housing, apply to college or qualify for federal benefits. If state governors follow suit, hundreds of thousands of people could see their lives change for the better.  

We believe that no one should be in jail for weed. According to the ACLU, 8.2 million people were arrested on marijuana charges between 2001 and 2010. Of those 8.3 million arrests, nearly 90% of them were for simple possession. Those arrests disproportionally affected people of color, despite the fact marijuana usage rates among people of color and white people have consistently remained about the same.  

So what’s next? Local government leaders need to move toward making marijuana legal in Pennsylvania. As you know, Pennsylvania currently operates a medical marijuana program that thousands of residents benefit from every day. Full legalization (sometimes known as Adult Use or Recreational Use) would give every adult resident access to safe, regulated marijuana products.  

We at goodblend applaud Gov. Wolf for his support of state legislation that allows those who have been convicted of minor marijuana charges to petition for record expungement and makes it easier for expungement to be awarded. We urge the governor and state legislature to consider making marijuana legal for adult recreational use and to vocalize their support for federal marijuana legalization. 

As Pennsylvania residents, you hold the power to influence your local officials. We encourage you to reach out to them and voice your support for marijuana legalization. Contact Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Bob Casey via their websites, or call their congressional offices directly at 202-224-3121.   

It is time that we end the stigma around marijuana use and embrace its benefits. Everyone, no matter what state they live in, deserves access to safe, regulated and legal marijuana products.  

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