Know someone with a previous marijuana conviction? Here’s how they can get a second chance in Birmingham

Randall Woodfin announcing Pardons for Peace
Mayor Randall Woodfin announces Pardons for Progress to the press. Photo via Pat Byington for BhamNow

Do you know someone with a previous marijuana conviction? (Asking for a friend). Be sure to share this news with them. The City of Birmingham announced today, Monday, Nov. 25, that they are ready to offer a second chance for those with a single marijuana conviction. Read on to find out more about Mayor Woodfin’s Pardons for Progress and how your friend can use it.

Birmingham, a City of Second Chances

Even before he came into office, Randall Woodfin met people every day who struggled to find employment due to a prior marijuana conviction on their record. Over the years, thousands of individuals have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana charges in Birmingham.

Since a marijuana possession conviction appears on a background check, even a single conviction can eliminate employment opportunities.


In order to give people a second chance, Mayor Woodfin and the City of Birmingham started the Pardons for Progress initiative.

Here Are the Facts

Mayor Woodfin alongside City Council members and Alabama State Senators. Photo via Pat Byington for BhamNow

“We want to make sure our residents have every opportunity for gainful employment throughout the city of Birmingham.”

Mayor Randall Woodfin
  • What is Pardons for Progress? Since a marijuana conviction can block people from employment, Pardons for Progress will pardon a person with a single marijuana conviction.
  • Who is eligible? The pardon extends to a single prior conviction of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Degree (a Class A misdemeanor). Additionally, the Office of the Mayor will consider a connected Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (a Class A misdemeanor).
    • Remember–the pardon is for individuals with a single prior conviction. The pardon doesn’t extend to individuals with multiple convictions or violence offenses.
  • How many years back does the pardon go? The pardon extends for a marijuana conviction in the Birmingham Municipal Court during the past 20 years.

Expected Impact

“Although possession of marijuana is still a crime, Pardons for Progress will affect a minimum of 6,000 people in Birmingham.

Mayor Randall Woodfin

During Mayor Woodfin’s press conference, Kerri Pruitt of The Dannon Project gave us an example of who this initiative will affect.

A 21-year-old member of The Dannon Project had gone through the entire workforce development training process, had received assistance for mental health and substance abuse, and had clean drug screenings. However, a potential employer told her that she would not be hired due to her single prior conviction.


“The people that [The Dannon Project] works with walk through our doors because they want a second chance to be a law-abiding member of our community. The Pardons for Progress initiative provides that opportunity for them.”

Kerri Pruitt, Exective Director of The Dannon Project

A Game Changer for Birmingham

Mayor Randall Woodfin
Pardons for Progress can impact over 6,000 Birmingham residents. Photo via Pat Byington for BhamNow

To learn more about Pardons for Progress, visit birminghamal.gov/pardons or read the official press release.

What do you think about Pardons for Progress? Share your thoughts by tagging @bhamnow!

Author: Nathan Watson

Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.