PoliticsMonday 06.17.24

Maryland Governor Wes Moore signs a historic executive order, pardoning over 175,000 marijuana convictions.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore on Monday signed a historic executive order pardoning more than 175,000 marijuana convictions in the state, said to be the most sweeping action to date.

“We cannot celebrate the benefits of legalization if we do not address the consequences of criminalization,” Moore declared prior to signing the executive order.

The blanket pardon will forgive an estimated 100,000 people who have been charged with low-level marijuana possession, many of whom have multiple convictions. These convictions include 150,000 misdemeanors for simple cannabis possession and more than 18,000 misdemeanor convictions for use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia. The pardons will not release anyone currently incarcerated.

"When it comes to cannabis, rolling out one of the best and most equitable legal markets in the country is incredibly important," the Democratic governor added. "But that roll-out must go hand-in-hand with pardoning past conduct, and Maryland is going to lead by example."

In 2022, voters legalized recreational marijuana use starting in July 2023. Moore noted that this pardon will help heal injustice from drug policies that have predominantly harmed Black and Brown people. Even after sentences have been served, individuals with drug-related criminal records have struggled to obtain housing, employment, and education.

“We aren’t nibbling around the edges. We are taking actions that are intentional, that are sweeping and unapologetic,” Moore said.

Recount Wire