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Maryland Issues Over 175,000 Pardons for Marijuana Convictions in Historic Move

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On June 17, 2024, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, issued over 175,000 pardons for marijuana convictions.

As of 2023, recreational marijuana has been legalized in Maryland following a constitutional amendment in 2022. On January 1, 2023, Maryland decriminalized possession of personal use amounts of cannabis. Currently, 24 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis.

Although the pardons will not lead to anyone being released from incarceration or automatically expunge past convictions from background checks, advocates lauded the action as a step toward removing barriers to housing, employment, and educational opportunities due to conduct that is no longer illegal.

The order will affect over 150,000 misdemeanor convictions for simple cannabis possession and more than 18,000 misdemeanor convictions for use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia.

The governor’s order also instructs the state corrections department to create a process for indicating pardons on individuals’ criminal records, which is expected to take about 10 months to complete. The pardons free individuals from the guilt of their criminal offenses, requiring no action on their part to receive them.

A pardon differs from an expungement. While the Judiciary will mark the offense as pardoned on the record, it will still appear there. Expungement, on the other hand, allows individuals to petition the court to erase specific court and police records from public access.

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For more information on Medical or Recreational Marijuana, and whether they affect your state, visit our resource guide at the Hire Image Resource Library. If you have any questions about how to best protect your business, employees, and customers, please Speak with Our Team.

Hire Image is a division of Orange Tree Employment Screening, uniting our strengths to design a background screening program in your best interest and deliver unmatched client experience.

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