Maryland Governor to Pardon Over 175,000 for Marijuana Convictions

Maryland Governor Wes Moore is making headlines with his decision to pardon more than 175,000 individuals with marijuana-related convictions. This executive order, hailed as the largest state pardon ever, signifies a crucial move towards social justice and reform.

The pardons will specifically target individuals with low-level marijuana possession charges, benefiting an estimated 100,000 Marylanders. Notably, this inclusive action also extends to cases involving the use of paraphernalia, making Maryland a trailblazer in addressing such convictions.

Governor Moore’s decision underscores his dedication to rectifying the injustices wrought by past marijuana laws. With recreational cannabis legalized in Maryland in 2023 and possession decriminalized earlier, Moore’s administration aims to alleviate the enduring consequences faced by those with prior convictions.

The signing ceremony for the executive order is set to take place at the state Capitol in Annapolis, with Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown in attendance.

Brown emphasizes the long-overdue nature of these pardons, particularly noting their disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities, which have historically borne the brunt of drug-related convictions.

The pardons will affect over 150,000 misdemeanor convictions for simple possession of cannabis, along with more than 18,000 convictions related to paraphernalia use. Importantly, this pardon will not lead to the release of individuals currently serving sentences.

After the signing, the Maryland Judiciary will update electronic dockets to reflect the pardoned convictions, a process expected to take about two weeks. Additionally, the state corrections department will work on indicating the pardon in individuals’ criminal records, a task expected to be completed within 10 months.

While pardons absolve individuals of criminal guilt, it’s crucial to note that they differ from expungement, which completely removes the conviction from public records. Nonetheless, this initiative represents a significant stride towards addressing the repercussions of past marijuana laws and fostering a fairer, more equitable justice system in Maryland.

Leave a Comment