Plain Talk: As Many as 175,000 North Dakota Could Seek Pardons for Marijuana Convictions


FILE PHOTO: Wayne Stenehjem, during a stop in Fargo May 19, 2016. (Dave Wallis/The Forum)

“We could be looking at upward of 175 to 179 thousand who have this issue.”

That’s what Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said on this episode of Plain Talk, referring to a streamlined process to allow those with minor convictions for marijuana-related crimes to apply for pardons. Stenehjem sits on a constitutionally-established board which makes recommendations on pardons to the Governor. The board handles all manner of requests, from minor crimes up to homicides, and doesn’t issue many pardons. But Stenehjem says he expects pardons for minor convictions for things like possessing or ingesting marijuana, or possessing marijuana paraphernalia, to become routine parts of the board’s “consent agenda.”

Stenehjem says his support for this move pre-dates the recent pro-marijuana activism in the state. It’s something which has been “bubbling around in my mind for a number of years,” Stenehjem said.

Also on this episode, was it a good idea for the Legislature to let cities as much as double their traffic fines? And is it a big deal that state lawmakers get paid for days their absent from the Legislature?

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