Help with Marijuana Pardons in Pennsylvania
With the calls for reform of marijuana laws sweeping the nation, it is not surprising to learn that many states have dramatically changed the way the legal system views Cannabis. From decriminalizing the possession of marijuana to outright legalization of the Schedule 1 drug, the legal system appears to be making a monumental shift. In addition to repealing stringent marijuana laws, states such as Pennsylvania have taken an extra step in the legal process.
The Keystone State is on track to pardon certain marijuana-related convictions.
Governor Announces Plan to Pardon Marijuana Charges in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently made headlines with the announcement the State of Pennsylvania plans to implement a plan to pardon certain marijuana law offenders. Both Governor Wolf and Lt. Governor John Fetterman released a joint statement after an extensive tour of the state to learn more about how residents of the Keystone state view the adult recreational use of marijuana. A section of a joint press release included a request from Lt. Governor Fetterman to the Board of Pardons to “expedite pardons for those with low-level marijuana convictions.”
Secretary of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Brandon J. Flood, said “While Pennsylvania could legalize the recreational use of marijuana sometime in the future, what continues to remain uncertain is the appetite of the General Assembly to provide retroactive relief to the countless Pennsylvanians who were subject to the direct and collateral consequences of marijuana-specific criminal convictions. Therefore, our policy proposal should be viewed as an attempt to balance the scales of justice within the context of our nation’s ever-evolving drug policy.”
Lt. Governor has encouraged Pennsylvania residents convicted for a marijuana-related offense to apply for a pardon. “Anyone with a marijuana-related, nonviolent possession or paraphernalia charge is encouraged to apply for a pardon, for free, and have his or her application expedited,” Lt. Gov. Fetterman said. “Given the favorable sentiment to legalizing marijuana, there’s no reason records of this nature should continue to hinder people from living their most productive lives.”
About Pardons in Pennsylvania
The pardon application process for any state is riddled with potential legal potholes, from submitting incorrect information to the untimely filing of applications. With the legal effect of a pardon in Pennsylvania being complete expungement from a criminal record, it is imperative that anyone considering applying for a pardon consult with a licensed criminal defense lawyer who understands how to expedite a pardon application. The pardon process in Pennsylvania is extremely detailed and to avoid frustration, it is highly recommend that applicants receive legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Most areas of Pennsylvania treat a marijuana offense as a misdemeanor charge that typically does not involve any jail time. However, the record of a marijuana-related conviction can diminish your employment and housing opportunities. As Secretary Flood said: “Getting a pardon literally allows you to push the restart button and it is as if you’ve never been convicted of a crime,” Flood said.
Many legal experts consider the pardon process in Pennsylvania to be lacking in speed. Governor Wolf and Secretary Flood have both emphasized the overhaul of the pardon system by digitizing applications. With the digitalization of pardon applications, Secretary Flood expects the time spent waiting for a pardon decision to be cut in half. Governor Wolf said the pardons of just marijuana-related convictions will move through the pardon process much quicker than it has in the past.
To learn more about the new pardon policy for marijuana-related offenses, schedule a free initial consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers by calling 610-450-4555 or toll free at 833-GET-OUT1. You can also fill out the convenient form found on the Bonner Law Firm website.