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'Good for the industry': What Biden's pardons may foreshadow for Oregon's cannabis distributors

PORTLAND, Ore. — On Friday, President Joe Biden pardoned people convicted of certain federal marijuana offenses. The announcement builds on a proclamation issued just over a year ago, which pardoned thousands across the nation.

The pardon focuses on simple possession and use of marijuana under federal law and in Washington D.C. The president also reduced the sentences of 11 people in prison for non-violent drug offenses.

"Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities," President Biden said in a statement. "Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana."

Joy Hudson is the founder of Nimble, a wholesale marijuana distributor. She's glad the president is continuing to destigmatize cannabis.

"When you have a president that is making statements like this, it is good for the whole industry," Hudson said.

But Hudson and her coworker, Nimble COO Marissa Rodriguez, believe a pardon is just the first step in a series to create federal cannabis reform. They said the next step is expungement. 

"There aren't a lot of folks currently who are probably being arrested for possession, but your record is haunting you if you have been," Rodriguez explained. "It's preventing you from employment opportunities, from equal access to housing. Expungement is really important; it's important across the country."

"You'd be surprised how many states have legal cannabis and still have a really healthy population of prisoners who are serving time for the thing people are enjoying legally," Hudson added.

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