[Office of Government Relations] The Episcopal Church commends the White House’s announcement to pardon all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. The pardons are expected to provide relief to about 6,500 individuals around the country. We also welcome the request for state governors to take similar actions, as the majority of the prison population is housed at the state level.
In 1973, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church recommended treating possession or personal use of marijuana a misdemeanor offense and called for the commutation or reduction of sentences of those convicted of felony offenses. Since that time, we have continued to advocate for an end to mass incarceration, an end to racial disparities in sentencing, and alternatives to incarceration for those struggling with addiction or mental illness.
The Episcopal Church is committed to addressing these and other policies that perpetuate our current mass incarceration system and the devastation of so many communities, in particular communities of color around the country.