Application rush expected for state pardons on marijuana charges

September 27, 2019
Sheldon Ingram
Action News

When Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman encouraged people with minor marijuana convictions to apply for pardons by the state, they basically opened the floodgates for thousands of Pennsylvanians to take them up on that advice.

That is the conventional analysis of several criminal defense attorneys in Pittsburgh who represent scores of people convicted for possessing small amounts of marijuana, combined with other nonviolent charges, “so it has huge impact, not only for that person, but their family,” said attorney Phil DiLucente.

By state law, Fetterman, as lieutenant governor, is head of the state Board of Pardons and says he will expedite the application process for people seeking a pardon of convictions stemming from possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Applications must pass a unanimous vote of 5-0.

DiLucente and other attorneys anticipate a busy rush on applications. “It gives them job opportunity and growth for their family and now they can potentially drive, if this is an older conviction,” DiLucente said.

Ultimately, Wolf and Fetterman want marijuana for personal use legalized in Pennsylvania for adults.