Biden Grants Clemency To 11 Drug Offenders, Citing Disparities

(USNewsMag.com) – On December 23, the White House stated that President Joe Biden is granting 11 drug dealers, convicted of non-violent crimes, clemency. Biden is also rolling back anti-drug laws on federal land.

In a statement regarding the decision, Biden said he was commuting the sentences because, if charged today, all of those convicted “would have been eligible to receive significantly lower sentences.” Two of the 11 individuals had been convicted on charges related to distributing methamphetamine, and nine of the 11 individuals had been convicted on charges related to distributing cocaine.

He granted Darryl Allen Winkfield of Georgia, Leroy Lymons of Florida, Esaias Tucker of Florida, Anthony Ewing of Georgia, Deondre Cordell Higgins of Missouri, Kenneth Winkler of Indiana, James Michael Barber of North Carolina, Earlie Deacon Barber of Alabama, Angel Rosario of Pennsylvania, Quittman Andre Goodley of Texas, and Felipe Arriaga of Washington clemency.

Biden also issued a proclamation pardoning additional offenses for “simple possession and use of marijuana under federal and D.C. law.” The reforms, he stated, are meant to change the country’s “failed approach to marijuana.” He added that barriers to housing, education, and employment have been created for those who have a criminal record of marijuana use and possession. The proclamation builds on the 2022 pardon for federal offenders for simple marijuana possession. It includes offenses that weren’t covered by the 2022 proclamation, including those that are related to marijuana “use and possession on certain Federal lands.”

Biden also urged governors to adopt similar policies regarding the legal impact of marijuana-related crimes, adding that nobody “should be in a local jail or state prison” for “the use or possession of marijuana.”

Since being elected, Biden has issued 12 pardons and 114 commutes.

The use of marijuana has been fully legalized in 25 states, while 14 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana.

In August, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended the Drug Enforcement Administration move marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule III drug.

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