Maryland Governor to Issue 175,000 Marijuana Pardons

Maryland Governor Wes Moore plans to pardon over 175,000 convictions for the personal possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.

Governor Moore is set to enact one of the country’s most extensive clemency measures for marijuana-related offenses on Monday via an executive order. This action aims to address the social and economic injustices that disproportionately affect individuals of color.

“I’m ecstatic that we have a real opportunity with what I’m signing to right a lot of historical wrongs,” Governor Moore told the Washington Post. “If you want to be able to create inclusive economic growth, it means you have to start removing these barriers that continue to disproportionately sit on communities of color.”

He described the pardons as “the most extensive and assertive” executive action nationwide in addressing criminal justice disparities as more states relax marijuana laws. Following a statewide referendum, Maryland legalized cannabis for adults and retail sales in 2023.

He added that criminal records have long been used to deny people employment, education, and housing, even after they have served their sentences.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said that “While the pardons will extend to anyone and everyone with a misdemeanor conviction for the possession of marijuana or paraphernalia, this unequivocally, without any doubt or reservation, disproportionately impacts — in a good way — Black and Brown Marylanders”.

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