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Time running out for PA marijuana pardon

More than 2,500 people have already applied for their marijuana convictions to be quickly pardoned. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
Credit: AP
Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania speaks at a news conference with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in his Capitol reception room, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pa. The men announced that Fetterman will open a "conversation" about legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania by scheduling a series of town hall-style sessions on it. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from Sept. 2.

Time is running out for those who want to apply for Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman's PA Marijuana Pardon Project

The deadline to apply through the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons is this Friday, Sept. 30. 

More than 2,500 people have already applied for their marijuana convictions to be quickly pardoned. 

“Pennsylvanians convicted of simple marijuana charges are automatically disqualified for so many life opportunities: jobs, education, housing, special moments with family. This is wrong,” said Gov. Wolf. “In Pennsylvania, we believe in second chances, I’m urging those eligible to apply now, don’t miss your chance to forge a new path.”

It is estimated that thousands are eligible due to convictions over the past several decades, even pre-dating marijuana's inclusion as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. 

There is no limit to the age of the conviction. People eligible for the opportunity to be pardoned are those with one or both of the following convictions:

  • Possession of Marijuana (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31)  
  • Marijuana, Small Amount Personal Use (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31I)

“Good people are being held back from living their best lives because of some old nonviolent weed charge,” said Lt. Gov. Fetterman. “Now is the time to apply, because we have no idea how long the legislature will continue refusing common sense legalization.”

The online application for an accelerated pardon through this one-time project is available at pa.gov/mjpardon. Once a person submits their application, they will be contacted if any necessary follow-up is needed.

If a person lacks the necessary technology to apply online, Pennsylvania CareerLink centers have offered their locations as a resource. PA CareerLink centers have computers that are open to the public to complete job searches, update resumes, prepare for interviews, and now, apply for this large-scale pardon project. To find a local PA CareerLink, login to  www.pacareerlink.pa.gov, scroll to the bottom of the page and select a county.

Those who are not eligible to apply for a pardon through this project because they have additional criminal convictions on their record are encouraged to apply for clemency using a standard application available at bop.pa.gov.

While a pardon constitutes complete forgiveness, those whose pardons are granted will still need to petition the court for an expungement of the conviction from their record.

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