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420 with CNW — Massachusetts Governor Announces Plan to Pardon Low-Level Cannabis Convicts

Governor Maura Healey of Massachusetts has revealed plans to pardon all individuals with simple cannabis possession charges in the state. It is expected that the move will impact a significant number of people.

During a recent press conference, Healey stressed the importance of the announcement, noting that it is among the largest marijuana pardons that a U.S. governor has ever declared. She stated, “We’re doing this simply because justice demands it.”

Although exact numbers on how many people are impacted by the pardon are unknown, Healey hypothesized that the number may potentially reach hundreds of thousands throughout the state of Massachusetts. Healey further underlined the significance of the racial justice that these pardons would provide. Highlighting findings from a 2016 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts report, she noted that while Black people make up only 8% of Massachusetts’s population, they make up 24% of cannabis possession arrests.

“This pardon represents a step towards rectifying the injustices perpetuated by these disparities within our state. We remain committed to addressing racial inequality across all aspects of our legal system,” affirmed Healey.

The pardon exclusively pertains to simple cannabis possession charges and does not extend to other cannabis-related felonies, such as distribution or operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Before the pardon, individuals with such charges on their records faced potential obstacles in securing employment or housing due to their criminal history.

Carol Rose, executive director of the Massachusetts ACLU, hailed the announcement, stating, “Today’s declaration ensures that individuals in every corner of our state are no longer penalized for engaging in behavior that has been deemed legal.”

Governor Healey’s pardon marks the second such initiative following President Joseph Biden’s pardon in 2022, which addressed simple cannabis possession felonies in Washington, D.C., and on federal lands. Biden had urged governors nationwide to take similar actions regarding state-level charges.

In a similar vein, in November 2022, then-Oregon Governor Kate Brown pardoned more than 47,000 individuals in the state for simple cannabis possession felonies involving one ounce and lower.

President Biden subsequently expanded his cannabis pardon initiative in December last year, extending it to include individuals charged with the use or attempted possession of cannabis on federal land, in addition to simple possession. He reiterated his call for governors to issue similar pardons. Biden restated his position in December, noting the need to redress the unfairness stemming from the fact that many people’s lives had been upended by failed cannabis policies.

The action that the governor of Massachusetts is taking is likely to be welcomed by the broader cannabis industry, including companies such as Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF), since it is a step toward fixing the societal injustices that resulted from the prohibition of marijuana.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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