Many hoping to benefit from Biden's plan to pardon federal marijuana offenses: 'dark cloud that follows you'
CHICAGO - Arrested at age 19 and convicted for possession of marijuana, Michael Diaz-Rivera is now hoping to benefit from President Biden's plan to pardon such offenders.
Because those pardons will only go to those with federal convictions, only about 6,500 people may be eligible nationwide.
Even in a booming job market, though, those with a history of convictions related to illegal substances can still face obstacles.
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Diaz-Rivera is now a marijuana delivery driver in Colorado.
He hopes the president's announced intention to pardon those convicted of mere possession of marijuana, without any aggravating charges, will clear his record.
"Just having a felony and that dark cloud that follows you. I would apply for jobs, and because of policy I wouldn't be able to work places. I would apply for school. I had to write an extensive letter to show that I was more than a felon. I would apply for housing, be honest about having a criminal background for weed possession, and I would still be turned around or turned away because of policy," said Diaz-Rivera.
Illinois launched a cannabis expungement program several years ago, after marijuana was legalized here.
Thousands have already taken advantage of it.