In 2014, a Pennsylvania doctor was arrested for growing marijuana in his home. When police arrived, he was actually taking apart his growing operation, something that would produce mere ounces. He started growing marijuana to help his wife overcome opioid addiction, but she, unfortunately, died of an opioid overdose the year prior.
The doctor and his daughter, who was in the house at the time police arrived, were arrested for growing marijuana. In 2016, Pennsylvania legalized marijuana for medical use. In 2020, the doctor applied for a pardon and, in early 2021, the Pennsylvania governor pardoned the good doctor, though his daughter is still awaiting her freedom.
Growing Versus Smoking
All but eleven states have, to date, either decriminalized or outright legalized marijuana. Many of the people convicted, largely non-white people, are still behind bars even though the original crime they were convicted of is no longer a crime.
However, many states still do not allow home growing of marijuana. This is still a crime in Pennsylvania, too, even though the doctor in our story has been pardoned. It is still illegal in Pennsylvania to possess marijuana, except for medical purposes. There are, however, several cities in Pennsylvania that have decriminalized small amounts and the state looks to be ready to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana this year.
A pardon is a government decision that allows a person who was convicted of a crime to be fully released from their punishment. A full pardon also removes the criminal conviction from the person's permanent record. In Pennsylvania, the pardon power rests solely with the governor.
When you were arrested and convicted of your marijuana crime, the state may have sentenced you to jail or prison time, depending on whether your crime was a misdemeanor or felony. If you possessed a small enough amount of marijuana, you may have avoided jail and just received probation. But even probation results in a criminal charge that stays on your permanent record forever.
This can have serious consequences for your ability to get a job and make a living to support yourself. Getting a pardon from the governor would erase your criminal conviction from your record and, if you are still in jail, set you free as soon as possible.
However, it takes more than just a friendly letter to the governor to get a pardon. There is a state pardon form, along with evidence and court records you must provide to the governor. Any mistake or missing information could delay or deny you a chance at a pardon. Don't let this deter you — it just requires the assistance of a skilled pardon lawyer in Pennsylvania.
Your Freedom is at Stake and You Need an Experienced Criminal Attorney to Help Protect Your Rights
It's frustrating to be sitting in jail or knowing that a criminal conviction is on your permanent record when the thing that got you in trouble is, or may soon be, no longer a crime. But you have legal options to get out of jail and remove the charge from your record. By requesting a pardon from the governor, you may be able to get your life back. Protect your rights by partnering with a lawyer who will fight for you. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm online or at 888.535.3686 today.
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