Maryland governor pardons 175,000 cannabis convictions

Posted on June 17th, 2024 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

MooreGov. Wes Moore of Maryland signed an executive order June 17 pardoning 175,000 convictions related to possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia, becoming one of the first US states to issue such a mass pardon. The order includes more than 150,000 misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession and more than 18,000 misdemeanor convictions for use of paraphernalia.

Maryland voted to legalize cannabis for adult use in November 2022. The state legislature passed the Cannabis Reform Act in spring of 2023, creating a framework for a regulatory and licensing system for cannabis use, and imposing a sales tax. This March, te Maryland Cannabis Administration held a lottery for 174 social equity businesses across cultivation, processing, and dispensary categories.

In his press conference announcing te pardons, Moore said: "We cannot address the benefits of legalization if we do not address the consequences of criminalization.... Policies have been intentionally deployed to hold back entire communities."

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott applauded the pardons in a press statement:

The legacy that the war on drugs has had on our city of Baltimore—and many places around the country like it—is still visceral and tangible. We still see and feel the wounds every day in the lives, families, and communities that were disrupted and destroyed. Today's action to pardon these more than 175,000 convictions is a step towards healing. For those receiving the pardons—which includes thousands upon thousands of Baltimoreans—it will be life changing.

From Jurist, June 17. Used with permission.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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