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Nevada Governor Introduces Measure To Pardon Tens Of Thousands With Marijuana Convictions

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Tens of thousands of Nevada residents who’ve previously been convicted of low-level marijuana possession could receive blanket pardons under a new resolution the introduced by the governor.

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced the development on Thursday, stating that he placed the clemency resolution on the Board of Pardons Commissioners agenda for next week.

Last year, the governor signed a bill providing people with cannabis convictions a means to petition the court for expungements, but this resolution would offer proactive pardons for anyone convicted of possession up to an ounce of marijuana.

“The people of Nevada have decided that possession of small amounts of marijuana is not a crime,” Sisolak said, referencing the state’s 2016 vote to legalize cannabis for adult use. “If approved, this resolution will clear the slate for thousands of people who bear the stigma of a conviction for actions that have now been decriminalized.”

The board is set to meet on Wednesday, June 17. The agenda designates time for “a discussion that may include but not limited to the resolution regarding pardons for persons convicted of minor marijuana possession.”

While pardons don’t void convictions, they can restore rights such as the right to vote, own a firearm or serve on a jury.

The governors of Washington State and Illinois have both issued pardons for cannabis offenses since their states legalized the plant.

Meanwhile, other top state officials have recently made arguments that marijuana reform is a necessary civil rights issue that’s particularly important to pursue as a means of addressing racial inequities.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said last week that legalization was “about addressing the ills of this war on drugs.”

The governor of Virginia said on Tuesday that the passage of marijuana decriminalization legislation this year represents an example of how his state has addressed racial inequities that are inspiring mass protests over recent police killings of black Americans.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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