In February 2021, Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania issued 69 expedited marijuana pardons. Initiated by the Board of Pardons, the review program facilitates an expedited process for nonviolent marijuana-related convictions. If before, it would take several years to get a pardon, it’s now possible within a year. Thus, people with marijuana convictions have more chances to get back on track and gain more opportunities in life. To learn how the expedited marijuana conviction pardon in Pennsylvania works, and the application process, check out the article below!
Understanding the Expedited Marijuana Pardon
The expedited marijuana pardon is made possible through the expedited review program introduced by the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and approved by Lt. Governor John Fetterman in September 2019. After his public meetings and visits to 67 counties, it was apparent that more individuals supported the legalization of cannabis use. Also, marijuana convictions were hampering people’s lives — whether in employment, housing, or education.
Thus, the Board of Pardons established the expedited review program. As its name suggests, the program seeks to review your application in just a year or less. In some cases, you may need not prepare for a public presentation in front of the Board.
Eligibility for an Expedited Marijuana Pardon
You are eligible for an expedited marijuana pardon if you committed low-level marijuana convictions, including felonies and misdemeanors. These include possession of marijuana (small amount) for personal use, distribution purposes, and distribution of a small amount without selling purposes. You can also apply for the expedited review program if you’ve had paraphernalia-related offenses, criminal conspiracy, and any felony conviction for possession with the intent to deliver marijuana.
Suppose you are among the medical marijuana cardholders in Pennsylvania but committed marijuana-related DUIs. In that case, you have to prove that you were a legal medical marijuana cardholder when the incident happened.
Exceptions To Expedited Marijuana Pardons
You are not eligible to apply for an expedited pardon if you’ve had a marijuana conviction and were also in possession of other illegal items or substances on the same criminal complaint. If you have completed or recently joined the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program or have a criminal conviction considered a violent offense, you’re not eligible for the program.
Convicted for driving under the influence of marijuana but not among Pennsylvania’s lawful medical marijuana cardholders when the offense was committed? Then, you won’t be qualified for the expedited marijuana-related conviction review program.
Note that while your marijuana-related offense can be expedited, other convictions, like DUIs and thefts, could not be expedited and will have to be addressed separately. Another exception to the program includes being under court-ordered supervision, like for parole or probation. However, this can be waived with a letter coming from the probation or parole office.
Application Process for the Expedited Marijuana Pardon
Marijuana conviction pardons in Pennsylvania focus less on the date of conviction and more on how the program can positively impact your life. So, start filing your application, including your marijuana record, docket entries, and the criminal complaint and affidavit. You also have to answer questions about what you’ve done with your life after getting convicted, why you need the pardon, and how the conviction affects you. Have a pardon attorney or cannabis attorney in Pennsylvania review your application before submission.
After the filing, the Board will acknowledge the application, review it, and decide whether to grant you a public hearing. If you get two out of five votes, you can have a public presentation, usually conducted via Zoom, because of the pandemic. The Board will then vote whether they should recommend a pardon. If you get at least three votes, the governor will look into it and decide on issuing the pardon. Then, if you’ve been granted a pardon, you can now file an expungement petition to remove your marijuana record and get cleared in various national databases, including the FBI.
With expedited marijuana pardons, you have a chance to reclaim your life and enjoy education or employment opportunities. Erase your record faster by connecting with our highly experienced team, and we’ll do the review and preparation for you!