Policy Reforms Lead to 2.5 Million Cannabis Expungements in U.S

Policy Reforms Lead to 2.5 Million Cannabis Expungements in U.S.

Policy reforms in the U.S. have led to approximately 2.5 million expungements or pardons for cannabis convictions in recent years, according to a NORML tally outlined by the Associated Press. Paul Armentano, NORML’s deputy director, told the AP that these numbers are “a drop in the bucket” compared to the over 30 million Americans arrested for marijuana over the past 50 years.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) recently issued pardons for cannabis or drug paraphernalia convictions, impacting at least 175,000 cases. Governors in Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon have also issued sweeping pardons in recent years. While pardons restore civil liberties like voting and firearm ownership, expungements are seen as more effective since they remove charges from criminal records entirely, allowing for federal college tuition assistance, public housing qualification, and parental participation in school activities.

President Joe Biden (D) has also ordered multiple rounds of pardons, but affected individuals must apply for a certificate. According to the AP, just over 200 people have done so as of this month.

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