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September Is A Month Of Marijuana Pardons In Pennsylvania

“Most of us don’t even think this should be illegal,” said Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running for the U.S. Senate

WHYY

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Thursday “jointly” announced a one-time, large-scale marijuana pardon opportunity. The project will cover individuals with certain minor, non-violent marijuana criminal convictions.

The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons will accept applications for the PA Marijuana Pardon Project throughout September, reports WGAL.

The Legislature has so far failed to enact legalization, despite calls for reform by top state officials, reports Marijuana Moment. But the Wolf-Fetterman administration has made a point of working to resolve the collateral consequences of Cannabis-related convictions.

Wolf and Fetterman Support Legalization

“I have repeatedly called on our Republican-led General Assembly to support the legalization of adult-use marijuana,” Wolf said. ”But they’ve yet to meet this call for action from myself and Pennsylvanians. Until they do, I am committed to doing everything in my power to support Pennsylvanians who have been adversely affected by a minor marijuana offense on their record.”

From September 1-30, the Board of Pardons will accept applications for relief from people with certain marijuana convictions involving up to 30 grams of flower or eight grams of hashish.

The reason for the expedited timeline is the expiration of Wolf’s term, reports CBS News. The governor’s term ends on January 17, 2023, when the new gubernatorial candidate is sworn into office.

“Now’s Your Chance”

According to Gov. Wolf, the project has the potential to help thousands of Pennsylvanians. “Now’s your chance, he said.

However, those who want pardons will still need to petition the court to remove the conviction from their records, reports ABC 23.

“Nobody should be turned down for a job, housing, or volunteering at your child’s school because of some old nonviolent weed charge,” Lt. Gov. Fetterman said, “especially given that most of us don’t even think this should be illegal.”

56% Of Pennsylvanians Support Legalization

A Muhlenberg College poll from this spring shows 56% of Pennsylvanians support adult-use Cannabis legalization.

This all takes place just two months before the midterm elections. Fetterman is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. His Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, has derided Fetterman’s pro-marijuana stance.

“It’s a good example of Gov. Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman doing everything they can from the executive office on this issue,” said Chris Goldstein, NORML’s regional organizer. “This is as much as they can do. It’s still really limited.”

According to Goldstein, 13,000 people arrested for marijuana last year could potentially benefit from this pardon effort.

“This One Month Window, I Hope This Works”

“This one month window, I hope this works,” Goldstein said. ”But there could be hundreds of thousands of people that apply.”

Governor Wolf, meanwhile, called on the GOP-controlled Pennsylvania Legislature to support legalization of adult-use marijuana.

But an effort from Republican Sen. Dan Laughlin of Erie County so far has not advanced.

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