By / March 18, 2024

Massachusetts to Pardon “Hundreds of Thousands” for Cannabis Possession

Governor Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced plans to pardon all individuals convicted of simple cannabis possession in the state, potentially affecting “hundreds of thousands” who have been charged.

“We believe this to be the most comprehensive pardon for cannabis offenses ever announced by any governor in the United States. The reason is simple: justice demands it,” Healey said at a press conference on Wednesday.

For more news like this, along with all the latest in legalization, research, and lifestyle, download our free cannabis news app.

Impact Scope

Although the state lacks precise data on the number of people affected by the pardon, Healey stated it could be “hundreds of thousands” in Massachusetts.

Racial Justice Considerations

Healey also pointed to the racial justice that the pardons would bring to the state. A 2016 ACLU report in Massachusetts found that Black residents accounted for 24% of cannabis possession arrests in the state, though they only make up 8% of the state’s population.

“We can be certain that this pardon will rectify some of the damages these disparities have caused in Massachusetts, and we will continue all possible actions to eliminate racial injustice throughout the system,” Healey said.

Limitations of the Pardon

The pardon does not include other cannabis-related charges, such as distribution or operating a vehicle under the influence. Without the pardon, charges related to simple cannabis possession could appear on individuals’ criminal records, affecting their ability to gain employment or housing.

“This announcement means that today, people across all communities in the state will no longer be penalized for behavior that is now legal,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, speaking with WBUR. In 2016, state voters approved a proposition to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

National Context

The pardon is the governor’s second action of this kind since President Joe Biden issued a pardon in October 2022 for simple cannabis possession on federal lands and in Washington, D.C. Biden urged governors across the country to do the same for charges related to possession of small amounts of cannabis in their states.

In November 2022, Kate Brown, then governor of Oregon, pardoned over 47,000 individuals in the state for cannabis possession charges of one ounce (~28 g) or less.

Biden later expanded his pardon in December 2023 to include individuals charged with using or possessing cannabis on federal lands, in addition to simple possession. He renewed his call for governors to issue simple pardons.

“Too many lives have been turned upside down due to our misguided approach to cannabis,” Biden said in a statement in December. “It’s time to right these wrongs.”

(Featured image by Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash)

DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third-party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of, its management, staff, or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.

This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.

First published in Fakty Konopne, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.

Comments are closed for this post.