LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — The Hill City is responding with mixed feelings after President Biden’s announcement pardoning thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession.
JM Pedini is the Development Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and they told WFXR Biden is hoping many states follow in his decision.
“Not only did President Biden pardon these marijuana offenses of the federal level, but he urged governors around the country to take similar steps in their states,” said Pedini.
According to NORML, Biden’s decision alone will affect about 6,500 people with federal marijuana charges nationwide.
“In Virginia, we sealed what would be the equivalent state offenses in 2020,” said Pedini.
Although possession convictions are no longer public record in the Commonwealth– Pedini says it is uncertain whether or not Governor Youngkin will issue a mass pardon. Some members of the community have concerns.
“I think it affects the way people view justice in the court of law in a small-town setting against local authorities,” said one Lynchburg resident.
Some Virginia residents feel Biden’s decision compromises the justice system within the United States.
“When you compromise, people tend to view you as weaker and they’re more willing to kind of go against the rules the laws,” said the same Lynchburg resident.
As far as the future of marijuana laws in the commonwealth– Pedini says it is a legislative issue that will have to be brought up by the general assembly.