While thousands had applied for the cannabis pardons announced by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) earlier this year, fewer than 250 people have actually qualified and will get to clear their records, PennLive reports.
The state said that more than 3,500 applications for cannabis clemency were received but following a vote on Thursday by the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, just 231 cases were set to advance for a final vote before the board on December 16. Any cases which pass that final round of consideration will then go to Gov. Wolf for pardoning.
According to the report, 2,002 applications were rejected for not meeting the requirements of the mass pardoning project while another 434 applications were held for further consideration at a later point.
The program was announced on September 1 and applicants had until September 30 to apply for clemency. That short timeframe — coupled with a requirement for applicants to have been convicted of simple cannabis possession but otherwise hold a perfectly clean criminal record — is likely limiting the number of people who can qualify for the program.
“Often cannabis consumers get multiple convictions when they are arrested that first time. They get a paraphernalia charge, and they get a possession charge all at once. You would have to essentially lead a police-free life other than that one marijuana encounter to qualify.” — Chris Goldstein, NORML’s New Jersey regional organizer, via PennLive
Pennsylvania‘s cannabis pardoning project was announced weeks before President Joe Biden (D) issued pardons for all federal cannabis possession charges and called on governors around the U.S. to follow suit.
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