Mid-South governors respond to Biden’s executive order to pardon simple marijuana possession offenses

Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 5:31 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2022 at 7:06 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thousands nationwide could see simple marijuana possession charges dismissed.

This is part of an executive order to pardon all federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. Now, President Joe Biden is asking governors to do the same on a state level.

Biden says sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct many states no longer prohibit.

While we’ve seen several attempts to legalize medical marijuana in the Mid-South, simple possession for casual use remains a criminal offense.

In Tennessee, simple possession of anything more than a half ounce is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail or a $250 fine.

There’s a similar law in Mississippi with a $250 fine, except it’s less than 30 grams and no jail time on the first offense. But the chance of jail time increases with each offense.

In Arkansas. possession of less than 4 ounces is a misdemeanor as well - with a $2,500 fine max.

Still, these charges will be on your criminal record, however, there are chances to get the charge expunged after some time has passed and paying fines.

We heard from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee who says, “We’re not considering this in Tennessee.”

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson released the following statement in response to Biden’s pardons.

“The Department of Justice should not issue blanket pardons, but each case should be looked at individually.”

No word from Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves yet.

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