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Gov. Burgum pardons 24 low-level marijuana offenders

Last Updated Nov 24, 2020 at 8:14 am MST

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has pardoned 24 people convicted of low-level marijuana crimes, in the second wave under a new policy that gives former pot offenders a second chance.

The policy adopted last year allows people with low-level marijuana convictions petition to have their records wiped clean if they avoid unlawful behaviour for five years. The pardons erase the convictions as if they never occurred and records are shielded from public view.

Burgum pardoned 16 people earlier this year.

Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem both supported the change, which brings North Dakota in line with some other states and cities. Past convictions can be problematic for people trying to find jobs and housing.

Burgum has said the policy change could help address North Dakota’s workforce shortage and grow its economy, while removing the stigma for what are minor cases from years ago.

People applying for pardons must complete a 1 1/2-page form that law enforcement reviews before placing a case on the pardon board’s agenda. It costs nothing to apply.

The Associated Press