In early March 2023, the US Justice Department launched an online application for individuals who were pardoned for simple possession of cannabis under President Biden's October 6, 2022 proclamation. Applicants can now receive a certificate of proof of their pardon.
On March 3, 2023, the US Department of Justice introduced a form for those who qualify under last year’s pardon for cannabis possession to obtain a certificate proving their pardon (1). “On Oct. 6, 2022, the President announced a full, unconditional and categorical pardon for prior federal and DC offenses of simple possession of marijuana,” reads the official announcement from the Justice Department (1). “The President’s pardon lifts barriers to housing, employment and educational opportunities for thousands of people with those prior convictions.”
To qualify for the pardon, a person must have been charged or convicted in a federal or District of Columbia (DC) Superior Court of simple possession of cannabis, among other qualifications. Those who were convicted of state offenses or of selling cannabis do not qualify (2). The Pardon Attorney’s office estimates that the form could take anywhere from 20 minutes to two and a half hours to complete, and that at least 20,000 applicants could apply for certificates (2).
In their March 6th blog on the announcement, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) reiterated that they have been fighting for the past 20 years to protect medical cannabis patients and providers against unjust arrests. “Though we don’t know of anyone currently incarcerated who will be freed by this mass pardoning it will improve the lives of plenty of people with one of these convictions lingering in a criminal record,” wrote ASA (3). “Those individuals will have their civil rights; like voting, assuming political office or serving on a jury restored by this pardon and it will also make it easier for them to find work, receive professional licensing and generally stop being penalized for that conviction. We would love to see not only more federal pardons but also more Governors offering pardons to those convicted for cannabis ‘crimes’ that are no longer illegal in their state.”
Learn more details about the qualifications or complete the form here.