Pardons OK’d under new ND policy for low-level pot convictions

State News

FILE – This Aug. 15, 2019 file photo shows a marijuana plant in an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, Calif. A survey released on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 says U.S. college students are using marijuana at the highest rates in 35 years. Marijuana use continues to be higher in college-age adults than any other age group. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s pardon advisory board unanimously endorsed pardons for 26 people with low-level marijuana convictions.

With little discussion, the five-member panel approved the pardons Wednesday. It’s a first under a new policy aimed at fixing problems the convictions have caused for people trying to find jobs and housing.

The list now goes to Gov. Doug Burgum, who is expected to approve the pardons.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem estimates as many as 175,000 marijuana convictions over several decades could be eligible. People may petition to have their records wiped clean if they avoid unlawful behavior for five years.

Stenehjem says his office will reach out to attorneys statewide urging them to let their former clients know of the change that took effect in July.

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