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Biden pardons thousands of Americans convicted of marijuana possession

US President Joe Biden is pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of "simple possession" of marijuana under federal US law, as his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalising the drug and addressing charging practices that disproportionately affect people of colour.

Mr. Biden's move also covers thousands convicted of the crime in the District of Columbia. 

He is calling for governors to issue similar pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offences, which reflect the vast majority of marijuana possession cases.

In a statement, Mr. Biden said the move reflects his position that no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.

According to the White House, no one is currently in federal prison solely for "simple possession" of the drug, but the pardon could help thousands overcome obstacles related to renting a home or finding a job.