The Nevada State Board of Pardons has approved a resolution pardoning people convicted of low-level cannabis offenses that are now legal under state law. The resolution was introduced by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak who also serves as a member on the board.
“Today is an historic day for those who were convicted of what has long been considered a trivial crime, and is now legal under Nevada law. Since the passage of Question 2 in 2016 and the decriminalization of possession for small amounts of marijuana, many Nevadans have had these minor offenses remain on their records, in some cases as a felony. This resolution aims to correct that and fully restore any rights lost as a result of these convictions.” – Sisolak in a statement
Prior to the broad cannabis reforms approved by voters, possession of one ounce or less of cannabis was a criminal act that could be charged as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony depending on additional factors. The reforms included in the resolution apply to those who were previously convicted for possession of one ounce or less, and to those convicted multiple times for the crime.
The resolution marks the first time the Nevada Pardon Board has approved a resolution to pardon “thousands” of individuals. The secretary of the board will create an expedited process for individuals seeking pardon documents, which will be free of charge and available online.
State Attorney General Aaron D. Ford called the move “another step toward justice” which will make it easier for those affected by the reforms to access financial aid for college and get jobs and housing.
The board notes that the action does not include records sealing, which is outside of its scope; however, Sisolak signed a bill during the most recent session providing a streamlined and free process for sealing past convictions.