Wolf starts process to pardon lower level pot convictions

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvanians with minor, nonviolent marijuana criminal convictions could be pardoned beginning Thursday in a period until the end of the month under a joint effort from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

The pardon effort will allow anyone who has been convicted of possession of marijuana or small amount of personal use to apply. There is no limit for the age of conviction.

Officials estimate that thousands of Pennsylvanians are eligible due to convictions over the past several decades.

“It’s a good example of Gov. Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman doing everything they can from the executive office on this issue,” said Chris Goldstein, NORML’s Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware regional organizer. “This is, as much as they can do, it’s still really limited.”

Last year, he said, 13,000 people who were arrested for marijuana use could potentially benefit from this pardon effort.

“This one month window, I hope this works, but there could be hundreds of thousands of people that apply,” he said.

In a statement, Wolf said he has called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to support the legalization of adult-use marijuana. An effort from Republican Sen. Dan Laughlin of Erie County so far has not advanced.

“Until they do, I am committed to doing everything in my power to support Pennsylvanians who have been adversely affected by a minor marijuana offense on their record,” Wolf said.

The Associated Press