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Hallway and Prison Cells
Press Statement December 22, 2023

The NAACP Applauds Biden-Harris Administration on Nationwide Federal Pardon for Marijuana Use

Hallway and Prison Cells


December 22, 2023

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

WASHINGTON – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a federal pardon for every American with a prior record of marijuana-related charges. The sweeping pardons mark a significant step towards justice for those negatively impacted by the decades-long 'War on Drugs that has had a significantly disproportionate impact on the Black community. 

In response to this news, Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, shared the following statement applauding the administration, calling for states to follow this precedent: 

"For far too long, the criminalization of marijuana has been used as a weapon against Black America. In order to achieve true racial equity, it is paramount that marijuana-related offenses no longer serve as barriers to opportunities such as employment, housing, and education. This executive action is a pivotal step in rectifying the injustices perpetrated by outdated drug policies, setting a progressive precedent for future criminal justice reform. While we commend this significant gesture, the NAACP recognizes that there is more work to be done in achieving comprehensive criminal justice reform. We encourage states to make similar commitments to decriminalizing marijuana and addressing the root causes of systemic inequalities within the justice system. It's time for us to all thrive, together." 

For more information on NAACP's work to create a more equitable justice system, visit our website



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.