Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Opines On Biden's Federal Cannabis Possession Pardon


A week after President Joe Biden called on the nation’s governors to pardon state-level cannabis possession convictions Governor Charlie Baker said no thanks, he’d stick with Massachusett’s current system.


Baker, who initially declined to say what he would do during his remaining months as governor, pointed to a 2018 piece of legislation he signed into law allowing individuals once prosecuted for marijuana-related conduct to seek out and erase their records.

“Anybody in Massachusetts who wants to expunge their record appropriately can do so now, under existing state law,” Baker said. “Massachusetts has passed an expungement law for anybody convicted of simple possession of marijuana back in 2018 (…) And we signed legislation last year to make the process even easier.”

Baker added that the pardon process is complicated and doesn’t happen overnight. “I think at this point the fastest, easiest and quickest way for somebody to deal with an issue around simple possession would be to just pursue the expungement process. It’s why it’s there.”

Meanwhile, MA’s Attorney General Maura Healey (D) said she would pardon cannabis convictions if she were elected governor.

By contrast, Republican candidate Geoff Diehl said he would not and called Biden’s request “the latest in a series of outrageous moves (…) to eliminate consequences for wrongful actions.”

Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren (D) and Ed Markey (D) expressed support for Biden’s decision, calling pardons and legalizing marijuana at the federal level positive moves, reported MassLive.

Finally, state lawmakers argue that the expungement process is difficult for people to navigate, and a governor’s pardon would be more efficient.

Photo: Courtesy Of Esteban Lopez On Unsplash


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