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North Texans respond to President Biden's marijuana pardon
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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's the biggest move in U.S. history to decriminalize marijuana.

President Joe Biden has announced pardons for thousands of Americans convicted in federal courts of possessing small amounts of marijuana - one of his campaign promises.

Some are applauding the pardons, others are condemning them.

"They need to be in treatment, not be pardoned," Patricia Silva-Duran said.

Silva-Duran said her daughter's addiction to marijuana at age 15 convinced her that it's a dangerous drug and needs to remain illegal.

"There were times when I thought I might lose my daughter because she would drive high," Silvia-Duran said. "She crashed a car and of course was put on probation after that she was driving high and drunk at the same time

Silvia-Duran founded an anti marijuana awareness group and criticized President Biden's decision to pardon thousands who have federal convictions for marijuana possession.

"Being pardoned is not going to help whatsoever because they're going to use drugs still [and think] it's OK to smoke pot and be high, they're not going to work anyway," she said.

Giving those with convictions better opportunities for work is one of the reasons legalization advocates support the president's decision.

"A conviction for any kind of marijuana offense significantly limits of persons access to employment and education opportunities," said Katherine Neill Harris with Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The pardons do not include those convicted of dealing marijuana and won't affect state court convictions which can only be granted by the governor.

Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement following the president's decision.

"Texas is not in the habit of taking criminal justice advice from the leader of the defund police party and someone who has overseen a criminal justice system run amuck with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals."

His opponent, Beto O'Rourke responded with a promise to go even further with decriminalization if elected.

"When I'm governor, we will finally legalize marijuana in Texas and expunge the records of those arrested for marijuana possession," O'Rourke said.

Those granted pardons will receive a certificate that they can pass along to any employers or for housing applications.

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