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Horowitz: Who exactly are the marijuana offenders Biden just pardoned?

Op-ed
Yarygin/Getty Images

Unless you were at the Capitol on January 6, federal prosecutors don’t target you for prison for simply possessing marijuana. In fact, in this era of marijuana as the national pastime, you won’t find anyone originally targeted by prosecutors for nothing more than simple possession serving time in prison. So, when Biden makes a grand announcement that he is pardoning all those convicted of simple possession, you know there is more to it than meets the eye.

“I’m announcing a pardon of all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. There are thousands of people who were convicted for marijuana possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result,” Biden said in a video last Thursday. “My pardon will remove this burden on them.”

Thousands of people denied employment opportunities? Ask yourself this question: In an era of open-air drug markets in plain sight in most major cities, what sort of federal prosecutor is spending the time and money to go after someone for simple possession of marijuana? The answer is they are not. So who is in federal prison for simple marijuana possession? Obviously, people who likely had much more serious charges but pleaded down to marijuana possession. If Biden is really correct in asserting that these people are such low-level criminals, why not push to unseal their sentencing reports, which would contain their entire criminal history?

But it’s not just the fact that if these people are targeted by the feds they are likely much more serious offenders (unless they are conservatives). Why would anyone be in the federal system at all for marijuana, especially in this era? Because they are foreign nationals! According to data compiled by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, in fiscal year 2013 (before the total decline of border enforcement), almost 91% of all federal marijuana offenders in the system were non-citizens! 91.5% of them were arrested at or near the border!

What this demonstrates is that this wasn’t a matter of the U.S. Marshals picking up random people in cities for smoking a joint. These were hard-core cartel traffickers who not only bring in marijuana, but some of the other lethal drugs responsible for wiping out tens of thousands of young Americans. It is simply scandalous for Biden not to disclose the nature of these arrests and the identity of the individuals.

Moreover, even if one believes somehow they are lower-level criminals and that there is no reason we should be holding them in our prisons, then they should at least be repatriated to their home countries. However, the Biden administration made no mention of the fact that over 90% of them would go from prison to ICE custody. They will all likely be freed. In other words, tons of cartel traffickers will be released into our general population!

Earlier this week, CNN did confirm that the pardon “does not apply to individuals who were non-citizens not lawfully present in the United States at the time of their offense.” But then they quote “a senior administration official” who suggested“anyone who has committed that offense could not be prosecuted federally, at this point, based on that conduct.” In other words, this is an open invitation to the cartel traffickers.

So the next time you find yourself agreeing with the Biden administration for stopping the federal roundup of average Americans smoking a joint, just understand that these are not the people who will benefit from the order. It’s a gift to the cartels flooding our country with criminals, illegal aliens, and drugs.
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