HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has signed more than 2,000 pardons since he first took office in 2015, many of which include non-violent marijuana-related offenses.
“Pardoning more than 2,000 Pennsylvanians is one of the greatest honors of my time in office,” Wolf said. “We all deserve the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and do better tomorrow—but, oftentimes, a record prevents positive forward motion, sparking a repetitive cycle of defeat. I firmly believe that with restored rights, pardoned Pennsylvanians prove themselves by stepping up and giving back to our communities.”
It’s reported Wolf reached a total of 2,098 pardons in August, and 326 of those pardons were part of an expedited review for non-violent marijuana-related offenses.
A pardon constitutes total forgiveness by the state for a criminal conviction, regardless of whether the sentence included time in prison, and allows for expungement of the related criminal record. Wolf’s office said applying for a pardon is free for individuals seeking clemency, an update made during the Wolf Administration.
The pardon application can be downloaded online, and the process does not require a lawyer.
Under the Wolf Administration, the pardons process has been modernized so that the application process is more streamlined, and application fees are now waived. In 2019, the Board of Pardons introduced and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman authorized the Expedited Review Program for Non-Violent Marijuana-Related Offenses, a program to speed up the pardons’ application process for people with nonviolent marijuana possession or paraphernalia convictions.
“History has proven that the consequences of a criminal record can change the trajectory of life for generations,” Wolf said. “With clean slates and community support, we’re empowering Pennsylvanians to own success.”
A 2020 report by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia analyzing 10 years of pardons data found that pardons contributed $16.5 million to Pennsylvania’s economy over the past decade, at no cost to anyone, according to the Wolf Administration.
More information and pardon applications are available at bop.pa.gov.