Cops, Courts and Fire Government

Pardon Applications For Low-Level Marijuana Convictions To Be Expedited

Lt. Gov. Fetterman and Board of Pardons Secretary Brandon Flood stand next to Gov. Wolf. Credit: PA Internet News Service

Thousands of Pennsylvanians with low-level marijuana convictions could be considered for pardons.

Last week at a press event announcing support for recreational marijuana, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman urged Pennsylvanians to apply for marijuana-related pardons. On Wednesday, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, Fetterman, and Board of Pardons Secretary Brandon Flood expanded more on their plan.

Those with marijuana-related nonviolent possession or paraphernalia charges are invited to apply to be pardoned and could have their application expedited, Fetterman told reporters.

“Given the favorable sentiment to legalizing marijuana, there’s no reason records of this nature should continue to hinder people from living their most productive lives,” he said.

“I want to emphasize that while we cut down on the red tape for pardons, these cases are not being rubber stamped,” Wolf said. “I read each recommended case individually and weigh the decision carefully. I factor in the effect a pardon will have on past victims and the likelihood to reoffend. But I also weigh the consequences of people continuing to carry a record when they have turned their lives around. By allowing more cases to be heard through the pardons process, we are treating people like individual human beings. It’s the right thing to do.”

Flood, who himself received a pardon, said that the Board of Pardons is reviewing current pardon applications to figure out the criteria in light of the current changes.

“Gov. Wolf believes on a second-change for Pennsylvanians,” Fetterman said.

Earlier this year, it was announced the Board of Pardons fees would be waived as a way to make the process more accessible.

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