Does The Federal Cannabis Possession Pardon Signal A New Era For Federal Cannabis Laws?
Cannabis is illegal in Florida except when it isn’t. Florida has yet to decriminalize cannabis possession at the state level, but the number of cities that treat possession of small amounts of cannabis as a civil infraction instead of a crime is growing by the year. Meanwhile, it is legal to possess small quantities of cannabis products, including oil, edibles, and smokable marijuana, if you are part of the medical cannabis program and have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition. If you think Florida laws about cannabis are confusing, you should see federal laws. Federal law classifies cannabis as a schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is always illegal and has no accepted medical uses; meanwhile, 37 states have medical cannabis programs, and 18 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized possession of cannabis for recreational use. Last month, President Biden issued an executive order which, while it does not make sweeping changes to federal cannabis policy, at least acknowledges the error of implementing draconian policies to punish people for possession of cannabis for personal use. If you think you are eligible for a pardon pursuant to the new executive order, contact a Florida drug offense attorney.
President Biden’s Executive Order Pardons Thousands of Cannabis Possession Convictions, but Probably Not Yours
In an executive order issued on September 30, President Biden pardoned all cannabis possession convictions issued in federal courts and D.C. courts since 1992. This means that the pardon applies to approximately 6,500 defendants. It only applies to defendants who were convicted of simple possession of cannabis; defendants whose cases involved possession of cannabis and other drugs are still considered convicted, as of those whose cannabis cases involved distribution or trafficking. A president issuing an executive order to release 6,500 people from federal prisons would be a clear indication indeed of his commitment to ending mass incarceration, but that is not what this executive order does; none of the recipients of this pardon are currently incarcerated; some are on probation, while others have finished their sentences.
Biden’s executive order indicates, more than anything, a willingness of the federal government to engage in the discussion about the reform of cannabis policies. Joe Biden is far from being the 420 friendliest person ever to seek public office, but he understands that it is illogical for the law to treat cannabis like it is more dangerous than fentanyl, which, despite causing more overdose deaths in the U.S. than any other drug, is a schedule II controlled substance. One of the provisions of the current executive order is an instruction to the Department of Justice and the Department of Health to review their assessments of cannabis, which may lead to a rescheduling of the drug.
Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Charges for Possession of Cannabis
A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of illegal possession of cannabis or other controlled substances. Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.