Maryland governor pardons more than 175,000 people for… | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

Maryland governor pardons more than 175,000 people for marijuana offenses

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore Associated Press/Photo by Evan Vucci, file

Maryland governor pardons more than 175,000 people for marijuana offenses

Gov. Wes Moore on Monday characterized the executive order as the largest state-level pardon in any state in American history. Maryland residents voted to decriminalize marijuana by referendum in November 2022, and Moore signed a law in May 2023 legalizing the recreational use and sale of marijuana in the state. Just a few months later, adults age 21 or older could purchase marijuana for personal use, according to the Maryland government.

What does this executive order entail? The pardoned convictions include more than 150,000 misdemeanor cannabis possession offenses and more than 18,000 misdemeanor offenses involving cannabis paraphernalia, according to the governor’s office. The number of convictions pardoned across the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City adds up to slightly more than 175,000, according to numbers provided by Moore’s office. The pardons apply to the number of convictions rather than individuals, meaning individuals could receive pardons for multiple offenses. The pardons will not result in any individuals getting out of incarceration, according to Moore’s office.

Why the pardon? Moore said the pardons would make it easier for people who previously had marijuana convictions to get jobs, houses, and higher education after the state decriminalized the drug. The state should remove any convictions from residents’ records if those convictions involve offenses that are no longer illegal in the state, Moore’s office said.

Dig deeper: Read my reports in The Sift about how Oregon and Canada’s British Columbia have rolled back efforts to decriminalize drugs.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

An actual newsletter worth subscribing to instead of just a collection of links. —Adam

Sign up to receive The Sift email newsletter each weekday morning for the latest headlines from WORLD’s breaking news team.

Please wait while we load the latest comments...