Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation into law which provides the office with expanded powers to pardon those with past marijuana convictions.
The move summarily pardons an estimated 15,000 people previously convicted of offenses involving the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis.
While the Governor’s office already possesses the authority to issue pardons in certain circumstances, this measure expands those powers so that the Governor can do so unilaterally for persons with minor marijuana convictions.
The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons has created an expedited process to review and grant pardon applications for those with marijuana-related records. “These people have done no harm to anyone else,” Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman said. “They shouldn’t continue to suffer with employment and housing issues because they were convicted of doing something that most Pennsylvanians don’t even think should be illegal.”
House and Senate lawmakers this week approved legislation, Senate Bill 5605, facilitating the expungement of past low-level marijuana convictions. The legislation now awaits action by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who has previously called for pardoning those with criminal records for marijuana violations.