For the past few decades, marijuana has been federally prohibited, and the infamous ‘War on Drugs’ has been responsible for tons of marijuana arrests and convictions. Even with multiple states legalizing cannabis in various capacities over the years, a large percentage of drug arrests are still marijuana-related. In 2018, four in ten arrests were marijuana-related, and around nine in ten of the arrests were for possession, not selling. One of the biggest arguments for legalizing marijuana has been to right these wrongs and ensure people with low-level marijuana convictions are not held back by their records again.
On Thursday, in an effort to undo the effects of the War on Drugs, the governor of Nevada announced a new resolution that could see thousands of Nevada residents with convictions for low-level marijuana convictions receive blanket pardons. “Today I am placing a resolution on the Board of Pardons Commissioners agenda next week to provide relief to tens of thousands of Nevadans previously convicted for possession of small amounts of marijuana which is no longer a crime in the state,” said Governor Steve Sisolak on Twitter.
Last year, he signed a bill that would provide people with cannabis convictions a means to petition the courts for an expungement. However, this new measure would offer proactive pardons for anyone convicted of possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. “The people of Nevada have decided that possession of small amounts of marijuana is not a crime,” said the governor, referring to the state’s 2016 vote to legalize cannabis for adult use. The purchase, possession, and consumption of recreational marijuana, with some restrictions, became legal for people over the age of 21 on January 1, 2017.
“If approved, this resolution will clear the slate for thousands of people who bear the stigma of convictions for actions that have now been decriminalized.” The proposed resolution would pardon people who in the past were convicted for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana but, it would not apply to convictions of possession for the purpose of sale. The board is set to meet on Wednesday, June 17, with the agenda designating time for a “discussion that may include but not limited to the resolution regarding pardons for persons convicted of minor marijuana possession.”
If the resolution goes through, Nevada will join a list of growing states which have pardoned marijuana convicts after legalizing it. Washington and Illinois have both issued pardons for cannabis convictions, and other top state officials have stated that such pardons will go a long way in addressing the racial inequalities perpetrated by the decades’ long War on Drugs.
This initiative by the Nevada governor is likely to be applauded by industry actors like Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCB: SGMD) who would like to see the injustices of the past erased so that the affected people can have a chance to rebuild their lives.
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