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Do You Qualify for the New Federal Marijuana Pardon Initiative?

 Posted on January 18, 2023 in Criminal Defense

San Jose drug crimes defense lawyerBeing convicted of any crime can have serious ramifications, but being convicted of a federal crime carries a heavy burden. One of the most inequitable areas of federal convictions revolves around federal marijuana-related offenses, especially given the changes the state of California has made regarding marijuana.

There is good news, however, for those with federal convictions in the form of a new initiative signed by President Biden in October 2022. This initiative will provide clemency for certain offenders to have their records expunged of their crimes and receive a presidential pardon.

The Federal Marijuana Pardon

As part of the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing the disproportionate impact that enforcement of cannabis laws has had on communities of color, the president introduced a three-step plan for pardoning federal convictions:

  1. Federal simple marijuana possession convictions will receive presidential pardons.
  2. The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services have been directed by the president to review the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a dangerous controlled substance.
  3. The president is urging governors to enact state marijuana pardon programs.

It is estimated that more than 6,500 people are currently eligible for a federal pardon under this program. To be eligible, an individual must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Not have any pending criminal charges
  • Must have been convicted of a federal offense related to the simple possession of marijuana

What Is the Difference Between a Pardon and an Expungement

There are differences between a pardon and an expungement. When a person is granted an expungement, all records of the arrest and conviction are permanently destroyed.

When a person is pardoned, the conviction is not erased, however, some of the rights and privileges that they lost due to that conviction are restored. These might include:

  • Eligible for federal benefits previously barred from receiving
  • No longer required to disclose the conviction on employment applications
  • Eligible for applying for a gun permit
  • Eligible to serve on a jury
  • Eligible to apply for professional licenses

One critical issue that could prevent a person’s eligibility for a presidential pardon for a past federal marijuana conviction is if they have violent or multiple offenses on their record. Only those with minor and non-violent offenses are eligible.

Contact a San Jose Criminal Attorney

If you have been charged with any type of drug crime, contact a Palo Alto, CA drug crimes lawyer right away. Call Fuller Law Firm at 408-234-7563 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. The sooner we can begin building your defense, the better your chances are for a positive outcome.





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