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Pardons issued in Birmingham, AL for more than 15,000 convicted of marijuana possession

Woodfin says no action is needed by the individual for this blanket pardon.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — 15,000 people convicted of marijuana possession in Birmingham between 1990-2020 have been pardoned by Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin

Woodfin made the announcement on April 20:

In a statement published on the City of Birmingham's website, Woodfin says:

Many of you may know of our Pardons for Progress program, where residents previously convicted of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana during the past 20 years can apply for a pardon.

Today, I’m so happy to announce blanket pardons for those with closed marijuana possession convictions in the city between 1990 and 2020. This will pardon more than 15,000 individuals simultaneously.

For clarity, Pardons for Progress only addresses a prior closed conviction of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Degree (Class A misdemeanor) in Birmingham Municipal Court.

Pardons for Progress is for closed cases only. Open cases must be resolved in court and will not be considered. Neither does this consider potential future cases.

Here’s why we’re doing this – no one should be held up by a single past mistake. No one should be denied job opportunities or freedoms due to missteps from the past.

No longer will these residents be bound to their past. They deserve a chance to be part of our work force, to provide for their families and to achieve success on their own.

That new life starts rights here, today, with forgiveness and redemption.

No action is needed by the individual for this blanket pardon.

This pardon addresses the closed conviction only and not any associated fees, fines or costs connected to the case.

In his April 20 Facebook post, Mayor Woodfin says:

Today, I issued a pardon of over 15,000 people convicted of marijuana possession in Birmingham between 1990-2020. No action is needed by the individual for this blanket pardon. Because no one should be denied opportunity for their future due to a single mistake in their past.

Millions of people, disproportionately from Black and Brown communities, have had their lives upended due to marijuana charges. These charges have led to arrests, convictions and even jail time, as well as criminal records that make it harder to find housing, receive a good paying job to earn a living, or receive financial assistance to earn a college education.

Put simply these prohibitions do not make our city safer and only create barriers for many in our community to earn a good and honest living. One small mistake should not define an entire lifetime.

These pardons are a strong start, but our work is far from done. Join me in telling the State of Alabama to completely decriminalize marijuana.

On Twitter, Mayor Woodfin said:

The Alabama state legislature is debating whether or not to legalize medical marijuana.

RELATED: Alabama House Health Committee hears arguments for and against medical marijuana

RELATED: Bill that would have legalized medical marijuana in the state fails in Tennessee Senate