192 Marijuana Offenders get pardons in Vermont

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on January 15, 2017.

Former Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin issued pardons to as many as 192 people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana just before the end of his six year tenure on Thursday.

In December, Shumlin, a Democrat, had announced that he would consider pardons for those with minor marijuana possession charges who did not have violent criminal histories.

The Governor’s office received requests for the pardons from nearly 400 people who were found guilty for marijuana related violations before decriminalization in 2013. However, only 192 people met the conditions for being pardoned. The majority of convicts who received pardons are under the age of 40.

“While attitudes and laws about marijuana use are rapidly changing, there is still a harmful stigma associated with it,” Shumlin said in a statement.  “My hope was to help as many individuals as I could overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it.”

Shumlin has considered that marijuana convictions can often be an impediment, especially for young people, to their future college and career aspirations. New Governor Phil Scott, a Republican also maintained that he will support the marijuana pardons and be open to future legalization of marijuana use.

Notably, the former Governor of Vermont had signed a bill decriminalizing possession of less than one ounce of marijuana across the state in 2013. Last January, Shumlin used his final State of the State address to call upon the legislature to legalize marijuana. In an historic vote, the Senate voted in February to pass a legalization bill that ultimately died in the House.

In his six years of office as the Governor, Shumlin has issued 208 pardons, more than any governor in the history of Vermont, according to the Governor’s office.

As of now, medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and Washington D.C. while seven states and the District of Columbia allow recreational use of marijuana.

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