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US: Maryland governor pardons 175,000 marijuana convictions

June 17, 2024

Maryland legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2023. Governor Wes Moore said people should no longer to face barriers to employment and housing for past low-level convictions that are now legal.

A bag of cannabis in Maryland
The move will affect around 100,000 people in MarylandImage: Alexander Farnsworth/picture alliance

The governor of the US state of Maryland pardoned more than 175,000 marijuana convictions on Monday.

"I'll pardon all convictions related to the possession of cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia," Governor Wes Moore said at a press conference in Annapolis.

This move forgives low-level convictions for around 100,000 people.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said the mass pardon was "a racial equity issue."

"This unequivocally, without any doubt or reservation, disproportionately impacts — in a good way — Black and Brown Marylanders," Brown told The Washington Post.

Marijuana legal in Maryland

Maryland legalized recreational cannabis in 2023 after a referendum in 2022.

However, this did not overturn prior convictions for possession and other misdemeanors.

"Because the use and possession of cannabis is no longer illegal in the state, Marylanders should not continue to face barriers to housing, employment, or educational opportunities based on convictions for conduct that is no longer illegal," the governor's office said in a statement.

In the US, 24 states as well as the District of Columbia, have now legalized recreational cannabis.

zc/lo (AP, AFP)