Shackleford, IBLC commend President Biden for historic pardons

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, President Joe Biden announced a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana and urged governors to do the same in their respective states. State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) issued the following statement today following President Biden's announcement:

“This is great news out of Washington. Far too many people have been living behind bars, too many families have been split up due to a victimless crime. In Indiana, we rank 24th in the nation for racial disparities in marijuana arrests. In 2020 alone, there were 4,436 people in Indiana arrested for possession of marijuana. When Black Hoosiers are arrested nearly four times as often as white Hoosiers for marijuana possession, it is clear that the 'war on drugs' is less about getting dangerous drugs off the street and more about over-policing Black communities and communities of color. As my colleagues in the IBLC have said before, decriminalization of marijuana is a civil rights issue. I applaud President Biden in his work to reunite families separated unnecessarily by the criminal justice system and allow individuals to reenter society. Currently, a stint in prison creates barriers for someone seeking employment, housing or education. No one should be denied a quality of life – or freedom from life behind bars – simply because they were caught with marijuana. This is the just and humane thing to do, and I urge Governor Eric Holcomb to follow President Biden's example by pardoning all Hoosiers in local jails and state prisons for marijuana possession.”

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