Headline RoundupJune 17th, 2024

Maryland Governor Pardons Over 175,000 Cannabis and Paraphernalia Convictions

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed an executive order pardoning roughly 175,000 cannabis and drug paraphernalia criminal convictions.

For Context: The move aims to rectify racial disparities that arose from drug enforcement policies, as well as remove barriers that have disproportionately impacted communities of color. Civil rights and advocacy organizations, including the NAACP and the Last Prisoner Project, have celebrated the order.

Key Quote: In a series of social media posts on Monday, Moore stated, “we know that legalization doesn’t turn back the clock on decades of harm caused by the War on Drugs. We cannot celebrate the benefits of legalization while forgetting the consequences of criminalization. When it comes to cannabis, rolling out one of the best and most equitable legal markets in the country is important, but that rollout must go hand-in-hand with pardoning past conduct. And Maryland is going to lead by example.” 

For Context: Moore’s executive order removes the mark from court records within two weeks and from criminal background checks within ten months, but the convictions will still appear in public records. Other states, including Oregon, Massachusetts, and Illinois, have also granted pardons for cannabis-related offenses.

How the Media Covered It: USA TODAY (Lean Left bias) emphasized the socio-economic implications of the move, giving prominence to the rectification of racial disparities because of drug enforcement policies. The Daily Caller (Right bias) took on a slightly more critical tone, mentioning the fact that Moore himself held shares in a cannabis company doing business in Maryland. This summary was developed with the help of AllSides' AI technology.

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