Nearly 200 people had minor marijuana convictions wiped from their records Tuesday when Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin issued pardons to those who he said were still facing stigma and “very real struggles” that often accompany drug convictions.
Shumlin, who leaves office Thursday, had urged people convicted of minor marijuana crimes prior to when the state decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2013 to apply for the pardons.
His office received about 450 applications.
“My hope was to help as many individuals as I could overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it. Vermont should follow the many states that are legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana and put to an end the incredible failure that is the War on Drugs.”
Shumlin said drug convictions can make it harder to find jobs, apply to college or even chaperone children on school trips. Thousands of Vermonters were charged with misdemeanor possession crimes before such possession was decriminalized in 2013.
The list of pardons, all for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, was released Tuesday. People with violent criminal histories who applied or those also convicted of driving under the influence or reckless driving did not receive pardons.