Maryland Gov. Issues Sweeping Cannabis Pardons

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore this weekend announced sweeping cannabis pardons for about 100,000 people in the state in one of the largest gubernatorial cannabis pardoning actions to date.

Full story after the jump.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) has announced the mass pardoning of about 175,000 cannabis convictions in the state, the Washington Post reports. The sweeping pardons should affect about 100,000 individuals, one of the nation’s largest mass forgiving of cannabis crimes taken to date.

The governor said that low-level cannabis convictions block peoples’ access to jobs, housing, and education and that cannabis-related criminal penalties disproportionately affect Black and Brown people. And the pardons — announced on the weekend ahead of Juneteenth, the federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. — represent a step toward healing decades of social and economic injustice, the report said.

“I’m ecstatic that we have a real opportunity with what I’m signing to right a lot of historical wrongs. 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.” — Moore, via the Post

The pardoning action in Maryland is the latest sweeping gubernatorial pardoning action for cannabis crimes after President Joe Biden (D) in 2022 pardoned low-level federal cannabis crimes and called on governors to take similar actions at the state level. At least nine other states have taken steps since then to pardon some cannabis-related convictions.

Maryland’s cannabis pardons are surpassed only by those issued by Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D), who this year issued sweeping pardons for all cannabis misdemeanors ever handed down by the state, an action that is thought to have affected potentially hundreds of thousands of people.



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