Decades of cannabis policing have significantly impacted society, especially among Black and Brown communities that were much more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for cannabis offenses despite similar use rates to White people. More than two decades after states first started legalizing cannabis, tens of thousands of people are still affected by cannabis convictions, either languishing in jail or failing to integrate into society due to their criminal records.
For most cannabis reform activists, efforts to legalize the drug have had a major focus on social and criminal justice to help alleviate the damage done by the decades-long war on drugs. This has often been through provisions requiring social equity applicants to be given a leg up in their state cannabis industries as well as the expungement of prior cannabis records. Sealing and expunging prior cannabis offenses has been a talking point of most activists in the country as having a criminal record can have lifelong negative impacts on an individual.
As such, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Lt. Governor John Fetterman recently announced a joint effort to pardon people with minor cannabis-related offenses on their records. Dubbed the Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project, the joint effort will make it possible for Pennsylvanians with certain cannabis convictions to submit an online application for an official pardon from the state.
Pennsylvania residents will be able to submit their applications via the program’s website from Sept. 1—Sept. 30, 2022. Wolf revealed in a press release that he has granted 2,098 pardons since assuming office, stating that 326 of these pardons were part of a review of nonviolent cannabis offenses in the state. Wolf’s track record when it comes to pardons far exceeds that of his predecessors, who passed a total of only 1,085 pardons in 15 years.
Wolf revealed in the press release that he had repeatedly urged the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly to support the legalization of recreational cannabis to no success. Until Pennsylvania Republicans throw their weight behind legalization, he said, Wolf will do everything in his power to support Pennsylvanians who have had their lives affected by minor cannabis-related convictions.
According to CBS Pittsburg, only those who were convicted on possession of marijuana or marijuana, small amount personal use charges for less than 30 grams of cannabis will be eligible for the pardon. Additionally, these individuals should have been convicted in the state of Pennsylvania, and they should have no additional offenses on their records. There will be no age limit for the pardons.
These moves on the criminal justice front complement the other benefits that come from legalization and allowing state-legal companies such as American Cannabis Partners to operate and provide jobs, pay taxes and boost the local economy.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to American Cannabis Partners are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACP
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