Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin announced that he has granted an additional 82 pardons, bringing the total number of pardons during his administration to 1,111. Notably, a significant portion of these pardons were issued for individuals with prior marijuana convictions, reflecting Governor Evers’ ongoing commitment to criminal justice reform.
Approximately one-third of the latest round of pardons were given to individuals who had convictions related to marijuana possession, cultivation, or sales. The majority of these cases involved simple possession of cannabis. Another third of the clemency grants went to individuals with convictions for other drug-related offenses.
In a news release, the governor’s office provided brief snapshots of the lives of some individuals who received clemency, illustrating their positive contributions to society after overcoming past mistakes:
- Joshua Haus, who had marijuana found in his residence in his late teens, now resides out of state, holds a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, is an ordained pastor, and actively volunteers in his community.
- Anthony Cervantes, found in possession of marijuana in his early 20s, has maintained steady employment as a taxi and limo driver since 2005.
- Raul Garcia Jr., found in possession of marijuana in his late teens, is now a dedicated father and husband with steady employment.
- Christopher Henry, found in possession of marijuana in his mid-30s, has completed coursework toward a degree in forestry and volunteers with a local softball league.
- Scott Vanden Heuvel, found in possession of marijuana in his late 20s, has worked as a project manager for a real estate developer for 13 years and is now a grandfather.
- Charles Hermann, found in possession of marijuana in his early 20s, has started a family and maintained steady employment with UPS for over two decades.
- Governor Evers, who set a clemency record in December 2021, reiterated the privilege he feels in hearing about individuals’ efforts to overcome their past mistakes and build positive, rewarding lives.
It’s important to note that receiving a pardon in Wisconsin doesn’t expunge a person’s record but is an official act of forgiveness that restores certain rights.
While Governor Evers continues to leverage the pardon process for criminal justice reform, broader marijuana legalization faces challenges in the Republican-controlled legislature. GOP lawmakers have consistently opposed cannabis-related proposals, including stripping marijuana-related measures from the governor’s budget requests.
Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard praised the governor’s cannabis clemency efforts, highlighting the need for broader marijuana legalization in Wisconsin. Despite these individual acts of clemency, comprehensive reform remains elusive in the absence of legislative support.