Harrisburg, PA - A day after calling for statewide legalization of marijuana, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is urging Pennsylvanians to apply for pardons for nonviolent marijuana-related convictions. The state’s Board of Pardons, led by Fetterman, is expediting the application process for pardons of such offenses.
Gov. Tom Wolf yesterday released the findings from Fetterman’s 67-county tour, which showed overwhelming support for legalizing adult-use marijuana.
In light of those findings and in line with numerous polls that have shown broad bipartisan support for legalization, Wolf and Fetterman are calling for decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and expungement of records for convictions of those crimes. They’re also calling on legislators to pass bipartisan legislation to legalize marijuana.
Fetterman said expedited pardons applications are an essential and immediate element of the plan.
“Full legalization could take some time, but one thing we can do right now is alleviate the burden of small-amount, nonviolent convictions that scar the lives of otherwise productive citizens,” Fetterman said. “These people have done no harm to anyone else. 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.”
Fetterman is specifically urging pardons applications from people who were charged with nonviolent, small-amount marijuana possession and/or possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
The Board of Pardons has created a special stream for these marijuana-related applications, allowing those cases to be heard more quickly.
Earlier this year, the Fetterman-led Board of Pardons waived its fee, so applying for a pardon is free. A pardon is often the first step to applying for expungement, which occurs in the county where charges were filed, because a pardon means the state has forgiven a crime. Expungement removes the conviction from an individual’s criminal record on the public domain.
Applications are available at www.bop.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Kauffman, Press Secretary - 717-712-3316
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