HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announced a coordinated effort for a one-time, large-scale pardoning project for people with select minor, non-violent marijuana criminal convictions.
The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons will accept applications for the PA Marijuana Pardon Project from Thursday, Sept. 1, through Friday, Sept. 30. Officials estimated that thousands of Pennsylvanians are eligible due to convictions over the past several decades, even pre-dating marijuana’s inclusion as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
According to Wolf, anyone with the two select marijuana offenses noted below on their record is eligible to apply, and there is no limit for the age of the conviction:
- Possession of Marijuana (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31)
- Marijuana, Small Amount Personal Use (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31I)
Individuals can apply for an accelerated pardon through this one-time project at pa.gov/mjpardon. Once a person submits their application, they will be contacted if any necessary follow-up is needed.
It’s reported those who are not eligible to apply for a pardon through this project because they have additional criminal convictions on their record are encouraged to apply for clemency using a standard application available at bop.pa.gov.
“This pardon project has the potential to open the door for thousands of Pennsylvanians – the college grad looking to start their career, the grandparent who’s been wanting to chaperone a field trip, or any Pennsylvanian who’s been told ‘no’ for much-needed assistance. Now’s your chance,” Wolf said.
It is estimated that thousands of Pennsylvanians are eligible due to convictions over the past several decades, even pre-dating marijuana’s inclusion as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
“Nobody should be turned down for a job, housing, or volunteering at your child’s school because of some old nonviolent weed charge, especially given that most of us don’t even think this should be illegal,” Fetterman said.
While a pardon constitutes complete forgiveness, it’s reported those whose pardons are granted will still need to petition the court for an expungement of the conviction from their record.
Since taking office, Gov. Wolf has granted 2,098 pardons, 326 of which were part of an expedited review for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. In the 15 years prior to Gov. Wolf’s term, only 1,805 pardons were granted in total.