Charleston, WV (WOAY)- West Virginia Democratic Party leader Mike Pushkin urges Governor Justice to issue pardons for West Virginians convicted of misdemeanor cannabis possession.
President Biden announced yesterday that he would pardon thousands of Americans with simple possession of marijuana charges stating no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.
In 2020 there were over 8,000 arrests for cannabis in West Virginia, with African-Americans being 7.3 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white residents.
In 2021, 279 West Virginians were incarcerated for possession of cannabis.
“Over the years, untold millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on arresting and prosecuting people for something that is legal in many other states. Such prosecutions clog our courts, overcrowd our jails, and waste scarce law enforcement time and resources.
“On top of that, people convicted for this misdemeanor face obstacles to employment, finding housing, and receiving federal student loans. states WVDP leader Mike Pushkin.
“People who can’t find decent jobs, adequate housing, and access to education are more likely to end up on public assistance or to turn to crime to support themselves.”
“To be clear, this pardon would not apply to people convicted of illegally selling or distributing cannabis,” said Pushkin. “But it is a logical next step towards decriminalizing personal cannabis use.”