Thousands of Convicts Pardoned by Democratic Governor

( – Maryland Democratic Governor Wes Moore pardoned nearly 200,000 marijuana convictions on June 17 in a move he described as a historic step that would change the lives of many Marylanders. The decision took place a year after the state decided to legalize recreational marijuana.

During a pardoning ceremony at Maryland’s State House, Moore delivered a speech where he said that he knew the action and the legalization of cannabis wouldn’t repair the damage that many people suffered over the last few decades. He also criticized the war on drugs, as he claimed it committed numerous injustices and affected the lives of innocent people by stigmatizing and persecuting them.

In front of a crowd, Moore said during his speech that he knows that legalization won’t “erase” how half of the arrests in the state during the 2000s were for marijuana. He added that legalization won’t erase the racism that many black Marylanders suffered during that period, as they were more likely to be detained or arrested for marijuana than whites. The liberal leader also claimed that one of the worst aspects of that period was that people who had a conviction on their record had a harder life as they had many obstacles to education, employment, and even housing.

Moore said that the primary goal of the pardoning was to address racial injustice in Maryland. He added that it doesn’t make sense to celebrate legalization without taking care of the numerous consequences that criminalization has brought to so many “families of color.”

The governor then cited the case of Shiloh Jordan, a black Marylander who was in the room for the law’s signing. Authorities convicted Jordan after dropping out of college over a minor marijuana offense, which made him get fired from his job. Moore said Jordan was an example for all Marylanders and explained that he managed to get his life on track. He is currently working in Baltimore with the Urban Families Center.

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