Presidential Proclamation on Marijuana Possession
On October 6, 2022, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation that pardons federal convictions for simple marijuana possession offenses. The proclamation applies only to federal convictions, including D.C. Code offenses.
Do not complete this application if your conviction is under state or local law.
If you'd rather send your application in the mail or by email, you can download the application form and send it to:
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Pardon Attorney
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530
What did the President’s October 6, 2022 Proclamation do and when did it become effective?
On October 6, 2022, President Biden announced a full, unconditional, and categorical pardon for prior federal and D.C. offenses of simple possession of marijuana. The President’s pardon lifts barriers to housing, employment, and educational opportunities for thousands of people with those prior convictions.
The pardon, effective October 6, 2022, applies only to the qualifying offense of simple possession of marijuana under federal and DC law. It does not apply to any other offense for which the individual has been charged or convicted.
What is a pardon?
A pardon is an expression of forgiveness to a person convicted of a crime. It does not signify innocence or expunge the conviction. A pardon can, however, remove civil or legal disabilities—such as restrictions on the right to vote, to hold office, or to sit on a jury—that are imposed because of the pardoned conviction. A pardon may also be helpful in obtaining licenses, some types of insurance, or employment.
How can I prove that I have been pardoned?
Pardoned persons may need proof that President Biden’s proclamation applies in order to achieve the full benefits of the pardon. The President directed the Attorney General, acting through the Pardon Attorney, to issue certificates to establish proof of pardon. The Office of the Pardon Attorney has developed an online and mail-in application for eligible individuals to apply for certificates. You can expedite the processing of your application by submitting it online using the web form, providing an email address, and including the requested case documents. You may submit your application by email or mail, but doing so will delay the process.
Does the proclamation apply to convictions under state law?
No. President Biden’s proclamation does not pardon convictions under state law. It does apply to simple possession of marijuana under the District of Columbia’s criminal code.
The President can only grant clemency for federal offenses. For help with a state conviction, you should contact the Governor or State Board of Pardons in the state where the conviction took place.
Does the proclamation apply to all types of federal marijuana offenses?
No. President Biden’s proclamation applies only to simple possession of marijuana offenses. Conspiracy, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and other charges involving marijuana are not pardoned by the proclamation.
Do I qualify for a pardon if I was convicted under 21 U.S.C. § 844 of possessing marijuana and another drug in a single offense?
No. The proclamation does not apply to persons who were convicted of possessing different controlled substance in the same offense. For example, if you were convicted of possessing marijuana and cocaine in a single offense, you do not qualify for pardon under the terms of President Biden’s proclamation. If you were convicted of one count of simple possession of marijuana and a second count of possession of cocaine, President Biden’s proclamation applies only to the simple possession of marijuana count, not to the possession of cocaine count.
Does the proclamation apply to charges that were pending as of October 6, 2022?
Yes. President Biden’s proclamation applies if the qualifying offense occurred on or before October 6, 2022, even if a conviction had not been entered by a court by that date.
Does the proclamation protect me from being charged with marijuana possession in the future?
No. The proclamation pardons only those offenses occurring on or before October 6, 2022. It does not have any effect on offenses occurring after October 6, 2022.
How can I obtain the documents, such as judgment or information, the Pardon Attorney asks for in connection with my request for a certificate?
Documentation from recent federal convictions can usually be obtained by contacting the clerk of court in the district where you were convicted or searching for the information on the federal courts’ public information website, PACER. You can find information about the clerks’ offices, here: Court Website Links | United States Courts (uscourts.gov); and information about PACER, here: Find a Case (PACER) | United States Courts (uscourts.gov). Documentation from convictions in D.C. Superior Court can be found by contacting the D.C. Superior Court, which can be found, here: Superior Court | District of Columbia Courts (dccourts.gov).
If you are unable to find documentation of your conviction from the above resources, you should still submit your application. The Office of the Pardon Attorney will make every effort to assist you in locating older records, although there may be a delay in processing your application.
What can I do to expedite the processing of my application?
To date, the average processing time to issue a certificate has been within 30 days for applications that include all of the information necessary to verify eligibility.
You can expedite the processing of your application by submitting it online using the webform, providing an email address, and including the requested case documents. You may submit your application by email or mail, but doing so will delay the process.
The more complete your application is upon initial submission, the quicker the Office can process your request.
If you do not, or cannot, provide all information requested in the application, the Office may need to conduct additional review, delaying the process. This review may include contacting you to collect additional personally identifying information or working with the National Archives to access older case files. Providing your email address or that of a trusted contact for follow-up questions will help us process your request faster. You can also enter a phone number for you or someone who is helping you, but it's not required. We'll only call you if we are unable to reach you via other methods, but please note this may delay the processing of your application.
How can persons who are currently incarcerated apply for a certificate of pardon under the proclamation?
If an incarcerated person cannot access the web version of the application, the Office of the Pardon Attorney has a paper application available for download on our website. Submissions can be made to USPardon.Attorney@usdoj.gov or through a case manager. The Office continues to review the possibility of expanding access to the web form to those persons now incarcerated.
Can I mail in the application form?
Yes. While we strongly encourage those that are able to submit an application via the webform and to provide an email address because that will expedite the process, you can find a paper version of the application on our website Presidential Proclamation on Marijuana Possession (justice.gov). You can complete the application and mail it to Office of the Pardon Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20530 or email it to USPardon.Attorney@usdoj.gov. If you are unable to access or download the form from our website, please contact the Office of the Pardon Attorney and we will mail an application to you.
What if I don’t have an email address?
We strongly recommend you provide an email address as it will help us process your request more quickly. You can also provide the email address for a trusted contact who can assist you with your application. If you do not have an email address you can use to communicate with our Office, you can provide a physical mail address for you or someone who is helping you for us to send follow-up communication, but this may delay the process. You may enter a phone number for you or someone who is helping you, but it's not required. We’ll only call you if we are unable to reach you via other methods.
What should I do with the certificate of pardon once I receive it?
Please keep the certificate of pardon, as it is the only documentation you will receive that you were pardoned by the President’s October 6, 2022, proclamation. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may wish to have the certificate of pardon filed in the court’s docket of your case or to provide a copy of the certificate to local law enforcement.
Can I appeal the Office of the Pardon Attorney’s decision to not issue a certificate of pardon?
No. The Office will issue certificates of pardon to individuals who are eligible under the President’s October 6, 2022, proclamation and who apply for the certificate of pardon. If the Office cannot determine your eligibility based on available information, it will work with you to gather the needed information, but please note this may delay the process.
How long will it take to receive a certificate of pardon?
You should expect to receive a certificate within approximately 30 days of the date your application is received, if your application includes all of the information necessary to verify your eligibility. If your application does not contain sufficient information to verify your eligibility, the Office of the Pardon Attorney will conduct additional investigation in an attempt to verify your eligibility, which will delay the issuance of a certificate.
How many certificates of pardon have been issued to date?
As of the last updated date, the Office of the Pardon Attorney has issued 110 certificates of pardon. We are processing applications as they are received. All applications received to date have either been finally resolved or are under review.
What if I have not received a certificate or notice that I am not eligible for a certificate?
If you applied for a certificate of pardon more than 30 days ago and have not yet received a certificate or a notification that you are not eligible for a certificate, your case remains open while the Office of the Pardon Attorney attempts to verify your eligibility. If we are able to verify your eligibility, we will issue a certificate promptly. You will be notified promptly if a determination is made that you are not eligible for a certificate.