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Maryland Governor Wes Moore wants to pardon 175,000 for marijuana convictions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Governor Wes Moore will sign an executive order granting 175,000 pardons for marijuana convictions, according to a news report Monday.

The pardon will forgive a low-level marijuana possession charge for an estimated 100,000 people. Moore, a Democrat, told The Washington Post on Sunday evening that criminal records have been used to deny housing, employment and education.

“I’m ecstatic that with what I’m signing we have a real opportunity to right a lot of historical wrongs,” Moore said. “If you want to be able to create inclusive economic growth, that means you have to start removing the barriers that continue to disproportionately impact communities of color.”

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Maryland in 2023 after voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2022. Now 24 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis.

Moore plans to sign the executive order Monday morning at the Capitol in Annapolis, with Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown in attendance.

Brown, a Democrat, described the pardon as “certainly long overdue as a nation” and “a matter of racial equality.”

“While the pardon will extend to anyone with a misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana or paraphernalia, it unequivocally, without question or reservation, disproportionately impacts — in a good way — on Black and brown Marylanders,” shared Brown to the Post.