Tell Attorney General Garland: Automate Marijuana Pardon Applications
The actions President Biden took in 2022 to advocate for and push forward marijuana reform have made him the most pro-cannabis president in American history*. By issuing pardons for those who were charged for marijuana possession under federal law, the Biden administration has taken a step in the right direction when it comes to sensible drug laws. However, the Department of Justice took five months to develop an application which will require each individual who qualifies to fill out a long application. In a recent post, the Department of Justice said that it expects the total amount of time it could take up to two and a half hours to submit “research, phone calls, and conversations with necessary personnel to attain the appropriate documentation.” That’s an unnecessary and unacceptable barrier—Attorney General Merrick Garland should instead automate this system to ensure people receive access and relief.
As President Biden said “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.”
States and localities that have legalized marijuana across the country have already begun automatically expunging records. Those individuals harmed by prohibition should not be required to face a higher burden of applications and research in order to receive the pardons promised by President Biden. Sign your name today to tell Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to AUTOMATE pardons for cannabis possession.
We will deliver the petitions to the DOJ on April 20th.
*The bar was very low, considering no President before Biden took any positive actions towards ending prohibition
To Attorney General Merrick Garland,
President Biden’s announcement that his administration would grant a mass pardon to those convicted of a simple marijuana possession charge under federal law was welcome news. The announcement served as an example for actions that could be taken by Governors and Mayors around the country.
However, according to your own agency, the expected time it will take for those who apply to receive their certificate will range from 6,667 hours to 50,000 hours of burden on the public, up to two and a half hours per person.
To that end, we call upon you and the Department of Justice to proactively and automatically issue pardon certificates to all those who qualify, rather than forcing them to complete long certificate process which requires documentation that individuals may no longer have.
Those individuals harmed by prohibition should not be required to face a higher burden of applications and deadlines in order to receive the pardons promised by President Biden. By making the process automatic, the Department of Justice can ensure that the full intent of the President’s action is achieved, and that people are not left waiting or without.
We urge you to send notifications to all those who benefit immediately. Don’t force affected individuals to forego their promised relief due to delays or lack of time and ability to navigate complicated systems.