A recently announced one-time pardon program may allow some Pennsylvania residents to receive forgiveness for minor marijuana crimes. The application process is open until September 30 and is only available online.
Who is eligible for this program?
Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project Eligibility
Pennsylvania residents who received a conviction for possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana or up to eight grams of hash are eligible to apply for the pardon program. It does not matter how long ago the conviction occurred. However, people who have other convictions on their records are not eligible for the program.
How the program works
People seeking the pardon must apply online. The Board of Pardons will review applications on October 13, 2022, and recommend cases for approval from December 13-16. Those who receive a pardon will have their crimes entirely forgiven. However, they must still petition the court if they want to get their convictions expunged from their records.
Reasons for the program
With public opinion shifting towards favoring the total legalization of marijuana in the state, proponents of the program believe that it is unfair for people with minor marijuana convictions to face difficulties in obtaining jobs, housing or other opportunities because of nonviolent marijuana charges.
Drawbacks of the program
People who live in rural counties may not qualify for the program because law enforcement typically pairs possession charges with drug paraphernalia charges. The paraphernalia charges carry longer sentences and make people ineligible for the pardon program because they have other convictions besides simple possession on their records.
While the program has flaws, it may provide a fresh start for many people whose only crimes are nonviolent marijuana possession convictions.