On Oct 6, President Biden issued “A Proclamation on Granting Pardon for the Offense of Simple Possession of Marijuana“. This is a blanket pardon for anyone who was convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law.
While many people from all sides of the political spectrum applauded this move, it is important to look at the actual impact it had, specifically, how many people were freed from prison.
The answer: Exactly ZERO.
According to the White House and a report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) there is no one currently in federal custody for simple possession of marijuana.
This is because the pardon only applies to federal marijuana possession offenses. Most offenses are handled by local law enforcement. Offenses are under federal jurisdiction only in specific circumstances like when the offense occurs in federally controlled lands like National Parks and borders or when interstate travel is involved. Even then, federal agencies are focused on going after larger drug enterprises rather than a single person. And even on the occasions when simple marijuana possession was prosecuted and involved prison time, the sentences averaged about 6 months.