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Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project Finds Errors in Pardon Applications

In September, the Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project was launched. Approximately 3,500 applicants were received for consideration. These applications still need to wait until official reviews are completed, but it seems that most of them were submitted with errors.

Celeste Trusty, Secretary of the Board of Pardons (BOP), stated that many applicants had submitted incorrect information. Many of these were simply typos or small errors. “We want to ensure that applicants are not deemed ineligible for the PA Marijuana Pardon Project because of a simple typo,” Trusty said. “Our partners in the PA Marijuana Pardon Project are going above and beyond to make this a successful process for as many eligible applicants as possible.”

At its latest BOP meeting, which was held Oct. 13, the members looked at how applicants came from 66 of the 67 county in the state. Most of the applications came from Dauphin County (288) and York County (284) respectively. Allegheny (202) and Philadelphia (197) followed.

Meredith Buettner Executive Director of Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, said that the program was needed. “This is really crucial for a lot of Pennsylvanians with non-violent marijuana-related offenses on their record. It may prevent them from educational opportunities, job opportunities, housing opportunities, so this was an exciting effort for a lot of Pennsylvanians,” Buettner told Fox43.

“It really is absolutely incredible to see that as we work through the data to find out who is eligible and who is ineligible, we can hopefully impact so many people’s lives in the next few months and be able to help them get on their way to a clear record,” Trusty told Fox43.

Additionally, she stated that next is the BOP’s review of each applicant. “The board is going to take a look [and]Review [them] and then they get to vote on moving that forward to the governor,” Trusty explained.

In partnership with Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project has been created. Governor John Fetterman und Gov. Tom Wolf. The application window closed on Sept. 30 in what’s described as a “one-time, large-scale pardon effort,” however those who did not make the deadline can still apply for an expedited pardon.

According to the timeline, the program will be completed in the following application window (September 1-30). The board would then meet Oct. 13 for a decision on whether applicants were granted a public hearing. On December 13-16, the board would vote on pardon applications that will be sent to Governor. These applications will then be sent to Governor Pardons on Dec. 16, but there was no estimate of the time. “The governor is not mandated to act in a specific amount of time after receiving the recommendations,” the program states on its website. Gov. Wolf’s term ends on Jan. 17, 2023, which is why the application window was so brief, the program website adds.

Fetterman, currently running for Pennsylvania Senate has been a strong proponent of marijuana legalization and its effects on his state’s residents. At the recent 5th Annual Cannabis Opportunities Policy Summit, he described Pennsylvania as “a place for second chances,” which will “help people get pardons quickly for stupid weed convictions.”

Fetterman released a press statement detailing President Joe Biden’s need to legalize marijuana at the beginning of September. “It’s long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana,” Fetterman said. “The president needs to use his executive authority to begin descheduling marijuana, I would love to see him do this prior to his visit to Pittsburgh. This is just common sense and Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support decriminalizing marijuana.”

Later, Fetterman mentioned a “great conversation” with President Biden about cannabis policy. Two weeks after the Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project went live, Biden’s monumental announcement for cannabis pardons was announced.