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Department of Justice Announces Applications for Cannabis Pardon Certificates

March 9, 2023

Persons pardoned for federal possession of cannabis – first announced in October, 2022 by President Joe Biden – can now receive a certificate demonstrating lawful receipt of the pardon via an application form launched by the Department of Justice on March 3rd, 2023.

Pardons will remove barriers to housing, employment, education, and civic duties like holding office, voting, or serving on a jury. Certificates will provide tangible proof of the pardon for persons receiving one to ensure they do not run into any barriers from the pardoned charge or conviction, including those “who seek to obtain licenses, bonding or employment.” The announcement from the Department of Justice underscored the value of both the pardons and the certificates of pardon.

Eligibility requirements for the certificate are consistent with those who received the pardon: “an applicant must have been charged or convicted of simple possession of marijuana in either a federal court or D.C. Superior Court, and the applicant must have been lawfully within the United States at the time of the offense. Similarly, an individual must have been a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident on Oct. 6, 2022.”

It is important to note that people who are charged or convicted of state or local cannabis offenses do not qualify for President Biden’s pardon and are not eligible to apply for the certificate of pardon.

For more information on the eligibility requirements and the application form, please visit this Department of Justice webpage.

For questions and free assistance dealing with state or local cannabis charges or other legal matters, please reach out to the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE).