Erie, Pennsylvania (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The plan to pardon people in Pennsylvania with marijuana-related convictions has started its countdown for those interested.

Pennsylvanians have a unique opportunity to be quickly pardoned from minor marijuana-related convictions through Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s PA Marijuana Pardon Project, and time is running out for those interested in applying.

According to a release, more than 2,500 people have already applied for their marijuana convictions to be pardoned through the project. The deadline to apply through the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons is this Friday, Sept. 30.

“Pennsylvanians convicted of simple marijuana charges are automatically disqualified for so many life opportunities: jobs, education, housing, special moments with family. This is wrong,” said Gov. Wolf. “In Pennsylvania, we believe in second chances – I’m urging those eligible to apply now, don’t miss your chance to forge a new path.”

“Good people are being held back from living their best lives because of some old nonviolent weed charge,” said Lt. Gov. Fetterman. “Now is the time to apply, because we have no idea how long the legislature will continue refusing common sense legalization.”

It is estimated that thousands of individuals are eligible due to convictions over the past several decades, even pre-dating marijuana’s inclusion as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Anyone with only the two select marijuana offenses noted below on their record is eligible to apply, and there is no limit for the age of the conviction.

People eligible for the opportunity to be pardoned are those with one or both of the following convictions:

  • Possession of Marijuana (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31)  
  • Marijuana, Small Amount Personal Use (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31I)

The online application for an accelerated pardon through this one-time project is available here. Once a person submits their application, they will be contacted if any necessary follow-up is needed.

If a person lacks the necessary technology to apply online, Pennsylvania CareerLink centers have offered their locations as a resource. PA CareerLink centers have computers that are open to the public to complete job searches, update resumes, prepare for interviews, and now, apply for this large-scale pardon project.

While a pardon constitutes complete forgiveness, those whose pardons are granted will still need to petition the court for an expungement of the conviction from their record.

Gov. Wolf has prioritized criminal justice reform throughout his administration and thanks to his leadership, Pennsylvania is a leader in pardon reform. Since taking office, Governor Wolf has granted 2,098 pardons, 326 of those were part of an expedited review for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.

In the 15 years prior to Gov. Wolf’s term, only 1,805 pardons were granted in total.