Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin announced on Tuesday that blanket pardons would be issued for cannabis convictions going back more than 30 years, giving up to 15,000 people even more reason to celebrate on 4/20. And in another move by state leaders to mark the high holiday, the Alabama Democratic Party called on lawmakers to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use.
In a statement from Woodfin, the mayor noted that Birmingham kicked off a Pardons for Progress program in 2019 that was designed to make it easier to have past cannabis convictions pardoned and the records sealed. But those eligible for pardons were required to apply for the relief and only nine convictions have been cleared since the program’s inception.
Under the new plan announced by Woodfin on Tuesday, closed cases from 1990 through 2020 that resulted in a conviction for misdemeanor marijuana possession charges will be automatically pardoned. Cases still pending before the court would have to be closed before a pardon could be issued. The pardons, however, will not result in a reduction or refund of any fines or fees paid to the court.
Woodfin noted that