The time is now to expedite the process and get proof of pardon for low-level federal cannabis convictions that no longer stand today yet still haunt individuals, sometimes decades later. According to a March 3 announcement, the U.S. Department of Justice is launching the application to make the expungement process easier for people with low-level federal cannabis convictions.
For people who are interested, you’ll need to gather personal details like name, mailing address, email address, and citizenship status. You’ll also need to know the docket or case number and the code section that was charged, and provide copies of documentation, such as charging documents (indictment, complaint, or criminal information) or conviction documents. It’s also important to know the exact date the sentence was imposed.
Pardons for low-level cannabis convictions were promised by President Joe Biden last October.
“Today, the Justice Department is launching an application for eligible individuals to receive certificate of proof that they were pardoned under the Oct. 6, 2022, proclamation by President Biden,” the department wrote on March 3.
“On Oct. 6, 2022, the President announced a full, unconditional and categorical pardon for prior federal and D.C. offenses of simple possession of marijuana. The President’s pardon lifts barriers to housing, employment and educational opportunities for thousands of people with those prior convictions. President Biden directed the Justice Department to develop a process for individuals to receive their certificate of pardon.”
The Application for Certificate of Pardon will be available on the Office of the Pardon Attorney’s website. People with eligible cases may submit documentation to the Office of the Pardon Attorney and receive a certificate indicating the person was pardoned on Oct. 6, 2022, for simple possession of cannabis.
The President’s pardon can assist pardoned cases by removing civil or legal penalties such as restrictions on the right to vote, to hold office, or to sit on a jury.
The process makes getting proof of pardon quite a bit easier for people seeking to obtain licenses, bonds, or employment. President Biden said last October that the point of pardoning low-level cannabis convictions is to “help relieve the consequences arising from these convictions.”
In order to be eligible for a certificate, an applicant must have been charged or convicted of simple possession of cannabis in either a federal court or D.C. Superior Court, and the applicant must have legally resided the United States at the time of the offense. In addition, an individual must have been a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident on Oct. 6, 2022.
Those who were convicted of state-level cannabis offenses do not qualify for the pardon.
In a historic move on October 6, 2022, Biden announced that he will pardon people with federal convictions for simple possession of cannabis, and announced that he will direct the U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to begin the process of reviewing the classification of cannabis at the federal level.
The White House statement noted that under current federal law, cannabis falls under Schedule I alongside deadly drugs like fentanyl. The White House will “review expeditiously” the plant’s current classification.
“As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden tweeted. “Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach. Allow me to lay them out.”
For more information about determining eligibility and to find answers to frequently asked questions, visit Presidential Proclamation on Marijuana Possession.