The vice president of the USA Kamala Harris said today that “no one should be in jail for smoking weed,” in a meeting with rapper Fat Joe and others who have been pardoned for marijuana-related offenses.

Harris pointed out that “too many people were sent to prison for simple possession of marijuana.”

The president Joe Biden, who is seeking re-election in November, is trying to appeal to young voters, some of whom appear disaffected by his sluggish reforms on the issue. Harris called on the Department of Health and Justice to expedite the reclassification of marijuana, making it less harmful than narcotics such as heroin.

“Marijuana is considered as dangerous as heroin and more dangerous than fentanyl, which is absurd, not to mention patently unfair,” he commented.

The Ministry of Health last year recommended that cannabis be moved from category 1 to category 3 narcotics, meaning it will be considered to have a moderate potential to cause addiction. The final decision is left to Drug Enforcement Agency of the Ministry of Justice.

Almost 40 states have legalized the use of marijuana in some form. But it remains illegal in the rest and at the federal level.

Harris organized a roundtable discussion with Fat JoeKentucky Governor Andy Beshear, White House officials and others.

There are 1.9 million people in prison in the US today. One in five prisoners was convicted of a drug-related offence.