Before Biden’s Pot Pardon, Non-Citizens Were Getting a Break
President Joe Biden’s newly announced pardon for “simple” marijuana possession could be a get-out-of-jail-free card for big-time offenders at the southern border. It might not even be necessary.
According to a 2016 government report, the median quantity of pot involved in simple possession away from the border was 0.2 ounces. But at the border simple possession arrests weighed in at 48.5 pounds – an amount the U.S. Sentencing Commission wryly noted, “appears in excess of a personal use quantity.”
The White House estimates “6,500 people with prior federal convictions” and “thousands of [marijuana] convictions” could benefit from the pardon. But Biden’s proclamation states that his action “does not apply to individuals who were non-citizens not lawfully present in the United States at the time of their offense.” This suggests that illegal aliens will not be eligible.
In any event, non-citizens historically constitute the lion’s share of federal pot cases. Between fiscal 2015 and 2020, more than 70 percent (4,335) of all federally charged marijuana possession offenders were non-citizens.
Yet the number of non-citizens busted for marijuana possession has been on a steady decline. In 2021, these cases fell dramatically, with just six non-citizens charged by the feds for holding pot.
Was it a mere coincidence that the year Biden took office was the first in recent history that non-citizens were a tiny minority (4.8 percent) of federal marijuana possession cases?
Pardon or not, non-citizen pot cases are going up in smoke under this president.