Article by Jennifer Costa, WCAX
“It could have happened in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. There are thousands of them,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
The governor is talking about the number of people convicted over the years in Vermont of minor pot possession. The outgoing lawmaker is now offering these people a Christmas gift before he leaves office.
“We’ve got folks who got charged for an ounce or less of marijuana in a different era when we were running a failed war on drugs. Let’s give those folks the opportunity to have a clean record,” Shumlin said.
Here’s the deal: if you’ve been convicted in Vermont of possessing an ounce or less of marijuana, the governor is asking you to go to his website between now and Christmas to apply for a pardon. The offer is only being extended to applicants who do not have violent offenses or felonies on their records.
“As governor, I’ve been trying to lead a more sane drug policy,” Shumlin said.
If you are arrested today for the same offense, you would get the equivalent of a traffic ticket. That 2013 law decriminalizing small amounts of pot also created an expungement law allowing people to apply to have their records scrubbed. But the governor, who has pushed for marijuana legalization, calls that process cumbersome and time-consuming. He believes this pardon is the fairest way to right old wrongs.