Around New England

Massachusetts Governor’s Council Weighs Maura Healey Marijuana Pardon Plan

March 29, 2024

The Governor’s Council has opted to hold an informational hearing regarding Governor Maura Healey’s proposal for a blanket pardon for convictions of simple marijuana possession.

The decision, taken Wednesday, March 27, deferred the significant clemency action for a subsequent vote.

Councilor Tara Jacobs’s proposal for the hearing passed via a voice vote, despite objections from Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney, who asserted “there’s no need to delay,” according to State House News Service

Jacobs, a Democrat from North Adams, emphasized the need for the hearing as part of the council’s “due diligence” in considering the pardon, according to the report.

During the session, no council members opposed the pardons. Members instead directed attention towards the council’s responsibility in scrutinizing actions from the Executive Branch before granting approval.

Governor Healey estimated that the pardon would extend to hundreds of thousands of individuals, whereas Councilor Joseph Ferreira referred to it as a simultaneous issuance of 69,000 pardons.

Councilor Eileen Duff said this marked “the first time in history” that a Massachusetts governor had proposed such a clemency initiative, the report said.

The council did not specify a date for the pardon hearing before concluding the session.


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