Community College of Vermont

Outgoing VT Gov. Pardons Nearly 200 People Convicted of Cannabis Crimes

In one of his final gubernatorial acts, outgoing Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin pardoned 192 people formerly convicted of nonviolent cannabis offenses on Tuesday, clearing the records of individuals whose ages ranged from their 20s to 60s, the Christian Science Monitor reports. During his tenure, the Democrat has pardoned a total of 208 people, setting a new record in the state.

About 450 people applied for relief under the program and among those pardoned all but 15 live in Vermont. The pardon applied to convictions of nonviolent offenders who possessed less than one ounce and had no felonies, or convictions either of driving under the influence or reckless driving.

P.S. Ruckman Jr., a political science professor as Rock Valley College in Illinois, called Shumlin’s sweeping pardons “almost unimaginably safe” from criticism compared to 40 years ago.

“It’s highly significant,” Ruckman said in the report. “I think it’s likely we’ll see more of it.”

The governors of other states that have either legalized or decriminalized cannabis have not moved to clear the records of those convicted under old marijuana laws.

Governor Phil Scott, a Republican who took office in Vermont yesterday, has made no indication that he would continue the policies of his predecessor, although he told the Burlington Free Press that he believes the pardon offers make sense.

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