Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that he has directed his administration to consider issuing amnesty for all convictions of simple marijuana possession. It follows last week’s pardon of all federal convictions for low-level weed possession and calling on governors to do the same at the state level.
Beshear noted that the state legislature failed to pass a bill to legalize medical marijuana earlier this year, despite a poll showing that 90% of Kentuckians support legalizing medical use of cannabis. did. He said lawmakers’ refusal to approve the bill meant that “people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, cancer, severe and chronic pain, epilepsy and seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions , no longer have access to medical cannabis for relief.”
The governor said he was not informed in advance that Biden would announce a federal pardon for marijuana possession and ask states to follow suit. He added that he is seeking more information from the Office of Courts and Administration (AOC) about how many Kentuckians are eligible for state pardons for level marijuana possession convictions.
“To be clear, I agree that no one should be put in jail just for possessing marijuana.” Beshear said in a statement From the Governor’s Office on Thursday. “I know that the majority of Kentuckians are demanding the legalization of medical marijuana. To do.”
Biden Announces Federal Cannabis Amnesty
Beshear’s announcement to consider a pardon for marijuana possession follows Biden’s announcement last week that he would take similar action against all federal felony convictions for simple marijuana possession. of convictions will be pardoned, while thousands more convictions in the District of Columbia will also qualify for relief.
“As I often said during my presidential campaign, marijuana use or possession alone should not put you in jail. It is also taking many lives and imprisoning people for conduct that many states no longer ban.” While whites, blacks, and browns use marijuana at similar rates, blacks and browns are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted, and convicted. ”
At a press conference, Beshear said he agreed with the president’s view. He also noted that state and federal laws differ, adding that possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Bluegrass State, not a felony.
“No one should go to jail for simply possessing marijuana. That’s not the case in Kentucky right now.” beshear said.
But the governor said even a misdemeanor conviction has the collateral consequences Biden mentioned.
“Having a misdemeanor on your record is no small thing.” Bashir said at his weekly press conference. “I would like to know how many people this applies to, so I asked the AOC to get that information.”
Kentucky Program Offers Cancellation
Beshear added that Kentucky now has a program to issue expungements for simple marijuana possession convictions.
“We can completely remove this from our records, which means it won’t even show up in searches after we go through the process,” says Beshear. “A pardon is different. If not deleted, the pardon will show up in that search. Then you will provide proof of your pardon.”
But the governor said he was still considering a pardon because it might help some people, saying, “It won’t have the same result as a felony pardon under the federal system, but it’s what he asked for.” We are actively looking into the matter,” he said.
“I’m just trying to put the context in that things are a little different here in Kentucky, but some people may be struggling to get jobs because of misdemeanor simple possession convictions,” he said. added.
Beshear said his administration will review the president’s request and decide how best to implement it in Kentucky.
“We are considering this information and hope to have new steps to announce here in the near future,” the governor said.
Panel finds strong support for legalizing medical marijuana
Biden’s federal pardon announcement comes after Beshear reported just 2 that the panel he formed to advise him on cannabis reform in Kentucky had overwhelming support for legalizing medical marijuana. The governor said the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Board said many Kentuckians who suffer from chronic medical conditions are not being helped by traditional pain relievers and fear they may be addicted to opioids. He said he discovered that Kentucky is one of 10 states that allow patients to use low-THC cannabis oil, but stronger marijuana products are still banned by law.
“Polls show 90% of adults in Kentucky support legalizing medical marijuana. I discovered that our people actually overwhelmingly support it. Beshear said in a statement From the Governor’s office on Sept. 30.