Birmingham extends blanket pardon for individuals with single marijuana convictions

Pardons for Progress
Mayor Woodfin introduces the Pardons for Progress initative in November 2019. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

In an announcement on Twitter, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin extended the city’s blanket pardon for individuals with closed single marijuana possession convictions.

Instituted last year as part of his Pardons for Progress initiative, Woodfin’s blanket pardon addresses a prior closed conviction of “Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Degree” (Class A misdemeanor) in Birmingham Municipal Court between 1990 and 2020. 

The new order effectively pardons people convicted since the first order was issued in April 2021. 

Woodfin Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization

In addition to the pardons, Woodfin called for the decriminalization of marijuana at a minimum. 

“The point is very simple. 18 states across the nation have legalized marijuana and 39 states in our union have made some form of medical marijuana legal. I think it’s past time for the state of Alabama to catch up—at a minimum to decriminalize marijuana and stop criminalizing this because it hurts and harms people. People in Alabama deserve a second chance— definitely in the city of Birmingham.” 

2nd Blanket Pardon in 2022

Birmingham City Hall at Sunset 2021
Birmingham City Hall in 2021. ( Pat Byington/ Bham Now)

The extension of marijuana pardons come on the heels of the mayor’s announcement earlier this year pardoning $35 million worth of traffic fines and parking violations, prior to January 2011. Called Stop and Go – Removing Roadblocks for Success Initiative, Woodfin issued the following statement about wiping out 750,000 tickets dating as far back as 1958:

“Many of those numbers represent individuals who have experienced devastating financial hardships. Some of them have experienced homelessness or are homeless. Some of these people cannot read and can’t read their parking or traffic tickets because of illiteracy. Some have been incarcerated for a significant amount of time.”

Some of them are afraid to do business or call the Birmingham police department if they actually need help, because of warrants that exist from not paying these fines, and I think it’s time we do something about that.”

Learn More

Interested in learning more about the mayor’s efforts to give people a second chance, visit the City of Birmingham’s Pardons for Progress website.  

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Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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