Did you know that the state of Pennsylvania may pardon your non-violent cannabis-specific convictions?
Many patients aren’t aware that Pennsylvania has a program in place to remove some cannabis-related offenses without a fee. The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons (BOP) has established an expedited review program for non-violent marijuana-specific convictions. While there certainly is no guarantee that applicants for this program will receive a favorable decision, it should be noted that there will be less of an emphasis on how recent the conviction is, and more of an emphasis on how compelling the applicant is at demonstrating how a pardon would improve their overall quality of life.
“I have previous marijuana charges, can I still get a medical marijuana card?”
Yes, as long as you meet all state qualifications, previous convictions do not affect your eligibility. Below are a few eligibility and exceptions to consider before applying to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons expedited review program:
The following individuals shall be deemed eligible to apply for an expedited review:
- Possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use;
- Possession of a small amount of marijuana with the intent to distribute;
- The distribution of a small amount of marijuana but not for sale;
- (Paraphernalia related offenses) – Any marijuana-specific conviction relating to the possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia; the delivery of or possession with intent to deliver or manufacture with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia; or the unlawful advertisement/promotion of sale of drug paraphernalia;
- Criminal conspiracy (relating to an underlying marijuana-specific offense)
- Marijuana-related DUI’s incurred by lawful medical marijuana cardholders in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Applicants would be required to produce proof that they were lawful medical marijuana cardholders at the time of their offense);
- Any felony conviction for possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance (marijuana only); and
- Any marijuana-specific conviction that the Secretary of the Board of Pardons deems appropriate.
The following individuals shall be deemed ineligible to apply for an expedited review:
- Anyone that has not yet been convicted of a marijuana-specific offense in a court of competent jurisdiction;
- Anyone that is currently enrolled in, or has completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program;
- Anyone who possesses a criminal conviction classified as a violent offense;
- Anyone who possesses a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana; and
- Anyone convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana who was not a lawful medical marijuana cardholder in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the time of the incident.
- Any prospective applicant who at the time of submission is incarcerated for an offense that is unrelated to the conviction(s) for which they are seeking expedited relief.
- Any individual’s application that the Secretary deems to be unsuitable for expedited review.